Accused Boston bomber’s lawyers want trial moved to Washington

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this undated FBI handout photo. Credit: Reuters
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this undated FBI handout photo.
Credit: Reuters

Lawyers for the accused Boston Marathon bomber asked a judge on Wednesday to move his upcoming trial to Washington, D.C., saying so many residents of Boston had been at the race that it would be all but impossible to select an impartial jury there.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, is the surviving member of a pair of ethnic Chechen brothers whom federal prosecutors contend killed three people and injured more than 260 in the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

His attorneys said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that they had commissioned a survey of possible jurors in the Boston area, as well as in Springfield, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C. Some 57.9 percent of respondents in Boston reported they viewed Tsarnaev as “definitely guilty,” compared with 51.7 percent in Springfield, 47.9 percent in New York and 37.4 percent in Washington.

More than half of Boston respondents said they had participated in the 2013 marathon in some way or knew someone who had. Tens of thousands of people were crowded around the race’s finish line on April 15, 2013, when the twin homemade bombs went off and millions were ordered to shelter in their homes four days later as police conducted a manhunt for Tsarnaev.

Defense lawyers said they found Washington to be the city with the least prejudiced jurors, while also able to handle the logistics of what will be a high-profile trial.

U.S. laws generally require a person accused of a crime to stand trial in the district where it was committed. Defendants can seek to have proceedings moved to another location where potential jurors may have been less influenced by pretrial publicity.

Defense attorneys cited the trial of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of the 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City, and was tried in Denver, as an example.

“If a change of venue was warranted in McVeigh, it is even more compelled by the facts presented here,” they wrote in a filing on Wednesday.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

 NO ‘BETRAYAL’ CLAIM

Earlier on Wednesday, a judge told prosecutors they may not use the fact that Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen as a factor in determining whether he should be executed if convicted.

 

U.S. District Judge George O’Toole blocked a bid by prosecutors to cite the fact that Tsarnaev took an oath of loyalty to the United States when he became a citizen as an aggravating factor in deciding on the death penalty if he is convicted.

The judge noted that a native-born citizen could not face the same claim because they do not take such an oath.

“It’s unduly prejudicial and I will strike,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole also denied a request by lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, to allow them to meet jointly with their client and his sisters without having federal agents present.

Defense attorneys had argued that understanding accused Tsarnaev’s relations with his family would be important to making a case that he does not deserve execution if convicted, saying the presence of a federal officers prevented normal conversations.

O’Toole instead approved a proposal by prosecutors to have a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from outside Boston, who is not directly involved in the investigation to monitor the meetings at the prison west of Boston where Tsarnaev is being held.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.