Boston suspect makes rare court appearance

Shaggy-haired, bearded and attentive, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev today made his first public appearance in 17 months, attending a brief court hearing before his trial begins January 5.

AFP| Updated: Dec 19, 2014, 03:49 AM IST

Boston: Shaggy-haired, bearded and attentive, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev today made his first public appearance in 17 months, attending a brief court hearing before his trial begins January 5.

Dressed in a black sweater and gray pants, the skinny 21-year-old with unruly curls sat between two female lawyers in a full to bursting US federal court room in the northeastern city of Boston.

He answered questions from Judge George O'Toole calmly and quietly in the brief session that lasted less than half an hour.

Tsarnaev, who faces the death penalty, is accused of carrying out the April 15, 2013 attacks that killed three people and wounded 264, the worst in the United States since the 9/11 Al-Qaeda hijackings that killed nearly 3,000.

The judge discussed leaks to the press and announced that discussions on jury selection would continue in private.

At the end, a woman started yelling out in Russian and English. "Stop killing innocent people!" she shouted. Families of the victims, with drawn faces, were separated from the rest of the public in the gallery.

Tsarnaev has pled not guilty to 30 charges in connection with the attacks, which plunged Boston and its world-famous sporting event into mourning, and revived domestic fears of terrorism.

Before today he had not been seen in public since entering his not guilty plea in July 2013.

At the time he was suffering from injuries from his time on the run and arrest in the days after the attack. Today he seemed in good health.

The charges against him include conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and bombing a public place resulting in death.

He and his older brother Tamerlan alone are accused of planting two pressure cooker bombs hidden in back packs near the finish line of the marathon.