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By Janelle Lawrence, David McLaughlin and Phil Mattingly
BOSTON - A wounded 19-year-old man was charged by the U.S. in connection with the bombing of the Boston Marathon, which turned the race into a murderous tableau, killing three people and injuring more than 170 in a bombing that triggered a four-day manhunt and shut down the city.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev was charged under a sealed complaint and made his initial appearance today in a hospital room before a U.S. magistrate, according to Gary Wente, circuit executive for the U.S. Courts for the First Circuit, which includes Massachusetts.
Specific charges haven’t been made public. Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment on the charges.
The conclusion of the April 15 marathon was shattered when two powerful bombs exploded about 10 seconds apart on a commercial stretch of Boylston Street. The blasts sent shrapnel ripping through spectators near the finish line. An 8-year-old boy, a 29-year-old woman and a Chinese graduate student at Boston University were killed. Many of the injured lost limbs.
Investigators combed a mile-wide crime scene and scrutinized evidence from scores of video recordings and photographs to identify the suspect and his elder brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was later killed in a confrontation with police. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was captured April 19 after a standoff with police, is hospitalized with serious wounds.
“This was a heinous and cowardly act,” President Barack Obama said the day after the attack. The bombing initially triggered suspicions of domestic terrorism, coming on the day taxes are due and near the anniversaries of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and 1993 assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. U.S. investigators are now focusing outward after it was revealed the brothers were immigrants of Chechen descent.
“We will determine what happened,” Obama said April 19, after Tsarnaev’s capture. “The wounded -- some of whom now have to learn how to stand, walk and live again -- deserve answers.”
Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad in Boston said April 20 her office will represent Tsarnaev in the case.