A federal judge ordered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, to stand trial in November, rejecting defense lawyers’ arguments that they need nearly a year longer than that to sift through thousands of pieces of evidence and interview witnesses around the globe as they prepare for the complex death penalty case.
US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. announced the Nov. 3 trial date during a hearing Wednesday in federal court, calling it realistic and fair. He also ordered defense lawyers to notify the court by June 18 whether they will ask to move the trial to another location.
The trial date — scheduled to begin less than 19 months after the April 15, 2013, bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 — cannot come quickly enough for some victims.
“I think it should be sooner,” said Marc Fucarile, a bombing survivor from Stoneham who lost a leg and attended the hearing on crutches. “Everybody should be on the same page. It’s pretty cut and dry with the evidence. Don’t waste anybody’s time.”
Legal specialists said that it takes more time to prepare for death penalty cases and that there is intense pressure on defense lawyers because their client’s life is at stake. Some specialists said it is in the interest of the defense to seek delays because they postpone judgment day.
“The defense is motivated by two things, the desire to keep the defendant alive as long as possible and the desire to be prepared,” said Robert Sheketoff, a Boston criminal defense attorney who represented another death penalty defendant, Gary Lee Sampson. “In a case like this, where guilt or innocence is the least of your problems, what is your hurry to get to a conclusion?”
During Wednesday’s hearing, which the 20-year-old Tsarnaev did not attend, his lawyers complained that prosecutors have been slow to share evidence with the defense team, which is still waiting to review some 2,000 items, some of it ball bearings from the bombs, that remain at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va.
The big question is, did Tsarnaev write the note, allegedly found in the boat where he hid, which claims that he took responsibility for the attacks and “we muslim brothers are one” there’s just one problem. Where are the pictures of the note, the handwriting analysis? Was it really done by tsarnaev? And is the note a confession to the bombing as news stories around the United States claim, or is it simply a rambling of a scared young man facing death?
“”I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions.
We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all
know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that.”