The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 20, 2013

Boston bomb suspect hospitalized under heavy guard

— BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lay hospitalized in serious condition under heavy guard Saturday as people around the city breathed easier and investigators tried to piece together the who and why of the deadly plot.

Tsarnaev, 19, was reported to be in no condition to be interrogated the morning after he was pulled, wounded and bloody, from a tarp-covered boat in a Watertown backyard. The capture came at the end of a tense day that began with his older brother, Tamerlan, dying in a desperate getaway attempt.

There was no immediate word on when Tsarnaev might be charged and what those charges would be.

The most serious charge available to federal prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered questions about the bombing, including whether the Tsarnaev brothers — ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade and lived in the Boston area — had help from others. The president urged people not to rush judgment about their motivations.

U.S. officials said a special interrogation team for high-value suspects would question the Massachusetts college student without reading him his Miranda rights, invoking a rare public-safety exception that exists in cases of immediate danger.

The American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about that possibility. Executive Director Anthony Romero said the exception applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is "not an open-ended exception" to the Miranda rule, which guarantees the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

The federal public defender's office in Massachusetts said it has agreed to represent Tsarnaev once he is charged. Miriam Conrad, public defender for Massachusetts, said he should have a lawyer appointed as soon as possible because there are "serious issues regarding possible interrogation."

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