He’s accused of bombing the finish line of the Boston Marathon and killing four people — but Dzhokhar Tsarnaev couldn’t help but yawn on Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty.Tsarnaev (19) appeared alternately fidgety and nonchalant as he was arraigned for 30 charges in Boston federal court related to the bombings and the subsequent manhunt that paralysed the city.
Survivors of the attacks and their friends and family were stunned by Tsarnaev’s cocksure attitude in the courtroom. “It was kind of eerie. Kind of upsetting,” said Mildred Valverde (44), who was on crutches and suffered torn leg ligaments, nerve damage and hearing loss from one of the blasts while waiting for her son to cross the finish line.
“But it felt good I could be there.” Tsarnaev yawned and rubbed his face during the eight-minute proceeding before Judge Marianne Bowler and said, “Not guilty” seven times in a Russian accent.
Tsarnaev flashed a crooked smile and blew a kiss to two women, his sisters, both wearing headscarves. One of them cried audibly while the other held a baby. He never acknowledged the many people in attendance who were there to get a firsthand look at the surviving suspect of the attacks that forever changed their lives.
“He gave a smirk to his family. He didn’t look at us,” said Peter Brown, whose two nephews both lost their legs in the bombings. “This is exactly what I expected. I thought maybe he would come with an attitude.”
It was Tsarnaev’s first public appearance since his capture 11 weeks ago. Tsarnaev faces 30 charges that include use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, deadly bombing of a public place and carjacking. Seventeen of the charges carry the death penalty.
Valverde said she didn’t want Tsarnaev to be executed. “I’d rather see him suffer. Death is too quick,” she said. “He looked really rough.”
Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, allegedly detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 260. Three days later, prosecutors say the brothers shot and killed MIT campus police officer Sean Collier during the start of their frenetic getaway.
Cops killed Tamerlan during a wild shootout in Watertown, Mass. A day later, on April 19, a wounded, bloodied Tsarnaev was captured cowering in a dry-docked boat.
260 People who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombing