Boston suspect asks for trial delay until September

Lawyers for Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have requested a further postponement to his highly anticipated terrorism trial, due to begin with jury selection on January 5.

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 24, 2014, 06:55 AM IST

New York: Lawyers for Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have requested a further postponement to his highly anticipated terrorism trial, due to begin with jury selection on January 5.

In court papers filed at the US district court in the northeastern city of Boston, just two weeks before jury selection is due to commence, his legal team requested a September 2015 start.

Tsarnaev faces the death penalty if convicted over the April 15, 2013 attacks on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264 -- the worst such incident in the US since 9/11.

In yesterday's written request, Tsarnaev's lawyers said they were struggling with the volume of material from prosecutors, finding it difficult to research his past overseas and concerned that the jury may deliberate around the second anniversary of the attacks.

"To commence trial as scheduled on January 5 would threaten both the fairness and finality of the proceedings," they wrote.
"A September 2015 trial date would be most realistic and fair given the extraordinary complexity and international dimensions of this case. But any amount of additional time would afford counsel a better opportunity to address the challenges," they added.

Last Thursday 21-year-old Tsarnaev appeared in public for the first time in 17 months, attending what was supposed to be a final hearing before the trial gets under way.
He pleads not guilty to 30 charges.

The attacks plunged Boston's world-famous marathon into mourning and revived fears of terrorism in the United States more than a decade after the Al-Qaeda hijackings.
Judge George O'Toole has already delayed the trial once already from an initial start date of November 3.

A Muslim of part-Chechen descent, Tsarnaev emigrated with his family to the United States in 2002 from Dagestan and became a naturalized American citizen in 2012.
He spent his early childhood in Kyrgyzstan.

He is accused of carrying out the attacks alone with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police as the pair went on the run in the days immediately after the attacks.

Prosecutors say the brothers prepared bombs based on instructions in Al-Qaeda's English-language magazine "Inspire."