A 30-count federal indictment against Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev charged him with killing four people and using weapons of mass destruction, among other counts, officials said Thursday.
Tsarnaev, a former Cambridge Rindge and Latin School student who previously worked as a lifeguard at a Harvard pool, could face the death penalty for 17 charges against him, and could serve life in prison for the rest.
According to the indictment, Tsarnaev scrawled a series of messages on the inside of the dry-docked boat in the Watertown backyard where he hid from police on April 19. Included among his written messages were the phrases, “The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians” and “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”
The indictment also says Tsarnaev downloaded publications containing material related to al-Qaeda and Islamic jihad. One downloaded publication, the online Inspire magazine published by al-Qaeda, included instructions on how to build a bomb, and another “glorifies martyrdom in the service of jihad,” the indictment reads.
According to the indictment, Tsarnaev placed and detonated a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing two people. The indictment alleges that the explosion came just seconds after Tsarnaev’s late brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, detonated the first of the two bombs, which killed Krystle M. Campbell. Campbell was a former Harvard Business School employee, and her mother and brother work at the University.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is also charged with causing the April 18 fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean A. Collier through the use of a firearm. The indictment alleges that the two brothers shot Collier in the head at close range with a semiautomatic handgun.
Following the shooting, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a firefight with law enforcement officials in the early morning of April 19, and a widespread manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that Friday paralyzed the Greater Boston area and shut down the University. Tsarnaev was captured by police that evening after he was found hiding in the boat in the Watertown backyard.
Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 10.
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.