Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Charged In Hospital Bed

As Boston buried one of those killed in the marathon bombings, the city observed a moment of silence. Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had his first court appearance today at his hospital bedside. A federal magistrate judge read him his Miranda rights. The judge found him alert and mentally competent. Tsarnaev responded to questions by nodding his head. He was advised by a public defender. The 19-year-old could face the death penalty for charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in the deaths of three people. Law enforcement officials say Tsarnaev, who is still recovering from serious injuries, has been communicating with investigators by writing notes.

NPR's Tovia Smith begins our coverage this hour.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: The criminal complaint lays out, in detail, how the explosions allegedly perpetrated by Tsarnaev, quote, "maimed, burned and wounded scores of people and killed three others." Officials say videotape shows the 19-year-old slipping his backpack onto the ground and standing there for four minutes, looking at and perhaps doing something on his cell phone.

After the first explosion, prosecutors say he was calm as others panicked. And then, finally, authorities say he walked away just about 10 seconds before the second blast that was right where he dropped his backpack. The complaint also details the carjacking and testimony from that car's owner, that Tsarnaev bragged he was behind the marathon bombings.

Tsarnaev could face the death penalty for federal charges but he will not be held as a military detainee, as some have advocated.

JAY CARNEY: He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.

SMITH: White House spokesman Jay Carney says the criminal court system has effectively handled other terrorists like the Times Square bomber and the Underwear Bomber.

CARNEY: The system has repeated proven that it can successfully handle the threat that we continue to face.

SMITH: It's news that many in Boston have been eagerly awaiting, both that Tsarnaev would emerge from sedation giving interrogators a chance to grill him and also that he would face justice in one form or another.

RON BROWN: If he tells us everything that we need to know, then let him - feed him to the wolves.

SMITH: Ron Brown, a bartender in Boston, is one of many passing by the makeshift memorial near the blast site, hoping that Tsarnaev would be shown no mercy.

BROWN: The best death penalty he could have is getting himself killed in prison by all the prisoners who want to destroy him. That's how I feel.

SMITH: The makeshift memorial, meantime, continues to grow, with roses, running shoes and handwritten notes. This was a day for remembering and honoring the victims. At 2:50, exactly one week after that ear-piercing, life-crushing blast at the finish line, today the city hit reset with a stream of solemn silence.

The city stood still, honoring the lives and limbs lost and contemplating how to salvage some sense of security. First responders formed a semicircle around two flags and flowers laid at the site of one of the blasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SMITH: Meantime, across the river in Medford, a church bell marked the start of a funeral for 29-year-old Krystle Campbell. A giant six-story American flag hung as mourners, like Teta DeRosa(ph), clung to each other and paid their respects to Campbell.

TETA DEROSA: She's a Medford High girl. We're all Medford High girls and our whole class, pretty much, is here to support the family from Medford.

SMITH: As families now focus on their grieving, the recovery also continues for dozens still recuperating in area hospitals and countless others recovering from the trauma.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIREN)

SMITH: Even today, a suspicious package was reported in Cambridge. Despite the relief that Tsarnaev was captured, residents like Heather Finch(ph) remain rattled.

HEATHER FINCH: Friday night was a big deal, but then it was like a relief but then, like, they did this to our city, still, so it's still not right and still uncomfortable. Still a pit in my stomach from Monday.

SMITH: Mayor Tom Menino says it may be several more days before the city is totally back in business. But, as he said right after the blast, it will not be business as usual. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston.

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