Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (born July 22, 1993) was born in Kyrgyzstan. As a child, he emigrated with his family to Russia and then, when he was eight years old, to the United States under political asylum. The family settled in Cambridge and became U.S. permanent residents in March 2007. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012, while in college. His mother, Zubeidat, also became a naturalized U.S. citizen, but it is not clear if his father, Anzor, ever did. Tamerlan, his brother, was unable to naturalize expeditiously due to an investigation against him, which held up the citizenship process. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public high school, he was an avid wrestler, captain of his high-school wrestling team, and a Greater Boston League winter all-star. He sometimes worked as a lifeguard at Harvard University.
In 2011, he contacted a professor at UMass Dartmouth who taught a class about Chechen history, expressing his interest in the topic. He graduated from high school in 2011[ and the City of Cambridge awarded him a $2,500 scholarship that year. His brother's boxing coach, who had not seen them in a few years at the time of the bombings, said that "the young brother was like a puppy dog, following his older brother".
Dzhokhar enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, with a major in marine biology, in September 2011. He said that he hoped to become a dentist.
Dzhokhar was described as "normal" and popular among fellow students. His friends said he sometimes used marijuana, liked hip hop, and did not talk to them about politics. He volunteered in the Best Buddies program. Many friends and other acquaintances found it inconceivable that he could be one of the two bombers at first, calling it "completely out of his character". He was not perceived as foreign, spoke English well, easily fit in socially, and was described by peers as "[not] 'them'. He was 'us.' He was Cambridge".
On the Russian-language social-networking site VK, Dzhokhar described his "world view" as "Islam" and his personal priorities as "career and money". He posted links to Islamic websites, links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war, and links to pages advocating independence for Chechnya. Dzhokhar was also active on Twitter. According to The Economist, he seemed "to have been much more concerned with sport and cheeseburgers than with religion, at least judging by his Twitter feed"; however, according to The Boston Globe, on the day of the 2012 Boston Marathon, a year before the bombings, a post on Dzhokhar's Twitter feed mentioned a Quran verse often used by radical Muslim clerics and propagandists.
In 2012, Arlington Police ran a warrant check on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and checked his green Honda when they were investigating a report of underage drinking at a party in Arlington Heights.
At the time of the bombing, Dzhokhar was a sophomore living in the UMass Dartmouth's Pine Dale Hall dorm. He was struggling academically, having received seven failing grades over three semesters, including Fs in Principles of Modern Chemistry, Introduction to American Politics, and Chemistry and the Environment and had an unpaid bill of $20,000 to the University. He was known to be selling marijuana to make money.
2013 Boston Marathon bombings
Main article: Boston Marathon bombings
Along with his brother Tamerlan, Dzhokhar was convicted of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The motivation for the bombings was apparently political in nature. He reportedly “told the FBI that [he and his brother] were angry about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there.” CBS senior correspondent John Miller, who before joining CBS served in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, later reported Dzhokhar's handwritten note inside the boat where he lay bleeding stated, “The [Boston] bombings were in retribution for the U.S. crimes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan [and] that the victims of the Boston bombing were collateral damage, in the same way innocent victims have been collateral damage in U.S. wars around the world."
After the bombings
Tsarnaev continued to tweet after the bombings, and sent a tweet telling the people of Boston to "stay safe". He returned to his university after the April 15 bombing and remained there until April 18, when the FBI released his pictures. During that time, he used the college gym and slept in his dorm; his friends said that he partied with them after the attacks and looked "relaxed".
MIT killing, carjacking, firefight, and manhunt
Dzhokhar and his brother are accused of murdering MIT Police Officer Sean Collier April 18 on the MIT campus, before traveling to the Boston neighborhood of Allston and carjacking an SUV and robbing the owner. However, the owner of the leased Mercedes SUV, a 26-year old Chinese immigrant/entrepreneur and former graduate student at Northeastern University, said he managed to escape when the Tsarnaevs became momentarily distracted in the process of refueling the car at a gas station that only took cash. The man, who would not give his name to the media but said he goes by the name "Danny", said he fled to another nearby gas station and contacted the police. Police were then able to track the location of the car through the man's cellphone and the SUV's antitheft tracking device.
When police found the stolen SUV and a Honda being driven by the brothers in the early hours of April 19, the suspects engaged in a shootout with police in Watertown. Dzhokhar was wounded. Police say he escaped by driving the stolen SUV toward the officers who were arresting his brother, driving over his brother and dragging him under the SUV about 30 feet (9 m) in the process. He reportedly sped off, but abandoned the car about 1⁄2 mile (800 m) away and then fled on foot.[ An unprecedented manhunt ensued involving thousands of police officers from several nearby towns as well as state police and FBI, and SWAT teams, who searched numerous homes and property inside a 10-block perimeter. Warrants were not issued, but residents reported they were told they must allow the searches to go forward. Many reported being instructed to leave their homes as well. Images of squad cars and large black armored vehicles crowding the sidestreets, and videos of residents being led out of their homes at gunpoint soon flooded social media. The Boston metro area was effectively shut down all day on April 19.
After Dzhokhar's name was published in connection with the bombings, his uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in Montgomery Village, Maryland, pleaded with Dzhokhar through television to turn himself in "and ask for forgiveness", and said that he had shamed the family and the Chechen ethnicity.
Arrest and detention
During the manhunt for him on the evening of April 19, Dzhokhar was discovered wounded in a boat in a Watertown backyard, less than 1⁄4 mile (400 m) from where he abandoned the SUV. David Henneberry, the owner of the boat, had noticed that the cover on the boat was loose and when the "shelter in place" order was lifted, went outside to investigate. He lifted the tarpaulin, saw a bloodied man, retreated into his house, and called 9-1-1. Three Boston police officers responded and were soon joined by other police. Tsarnaev's presence and movement was later verified through a forward looking infrared thermal imaging device in a State Police helicopter. The suspect was observed pushing up at the tarp on the boat and Boston police began a large volume of gunfire at the suspect, stopping only after calls from the Superintendent on the scene.[ After initial reports of a shootout between police and Tsarnaev, two U.S. officials said on April 24 that Dzhokhar was unarmed when captured.
Dzhokhar, who had been shot and was bleeding badly from wounds to his left ear, neck and thigh, was taken into federal custody after the standoff. Initial reports that the neck wound was from a self-inflicted gunshot from a possible suicide attempt were later contradicted by the revelation that he was unarmed at the time of capture and a description of the neck wound by SWAT team members that it was a slicing injury, possibly caused by shrapnel from an explosion.
In an image broadcast on the night of his arrest, he was shown stepping out of the boat in which he had been hiding. Other sources described him "lying on his stomach, straddling the side of the boat (…) His left arm and left leg hung over the boat’s side. He appeared to struggle for consciousness". Then he was "hauled down to the grassy ground" by a SWAT officer. In a photograph he can be seen lying on the ground on his back with his hands allegedly cuffed behind him, being helped by medical staff.
He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was treated for severe injuries in the intensive-care unit. He was in serious but stable condition (updated to "fair" on April 23), and unable to speak because of the wound to his throat. According to one of the nurses, he had cried for two days straight after waking up. He responded to authorities in writing and by nodding his head,although he did manage to say the word "no" when asked if he could afford a lawyer. Court documents released in August 2013, show that Tsarnaev had a skull fracture and gunshot wounds prior to being taken into custody. According to a doctor that treated him, Tsarnaev had a skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury.
On April 26, Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev was transported by U.S. Marshals to the Federal Medical Center, Devens, a United States federal prison near Boston for male inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. He is being held in solitary confinement at a segregated housing unit with 23-hour-per-day lockdown.
Questioning, charges, and confessions
Initially, Dzhokhar was questioned without being read his Miranda rights, because the Justice Department invoked Miranda's public-safety exception. He was to be questioned by a federal High-Value Interrogation Group, a special counterterrorism group created to question high-value detainees, which included members of the FBI, CIA, and Department of Defense. Later, after being read his Miranda rights, Tsarnaev "immediately stopped talking" and declined to continue to cooperate with the investigation.
On April 22, he was charged with "using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death" and with "malicious destruction of property resulting in death", both in connection with the Boston Marathon attacks. He was read his Miranda rights at his bedside by a federal magistrate of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, nodded his head to answer the judge's questions, and answered "no" when asked whether he could afford a lawyer.
He could face the death penalty if he is convicted. He is to be prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty, of the Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. His defense team includes federal public defender Miriam Conrad, William Fick and anti-death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke.
Middlesex County prosecutors also expect to bring criminal charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the murder of MIT Police Officer Collier. A surveillance camera at MIT captured the brothers approaching Collier's car from behind.
Officials said, after initial interrogations, that it was clear the attack was religiously motivated, but that so far there was no evidence that the brothers had any ties to Islamic terror organizations.Officials also said that Dzhokhar acknowledged his role in the bombings and told interrogators that he and Tamerlan were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs and the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to carry out the bombing. Dzhokhar admitted during questioning that he and his brother were planning to detonate explosives in Times Square of New York City next. The brothers formed the plan spontaneously during the April 18 carjacking, but things went awry after the vehicle ran low on gas and they forced the driver to stop at a gas station, where he escaped. Dzhokhar says he was inspired by online videos from Anwar al-Awlaki, who also inspired the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt.
Investigators have so far found no evidence that Dzhokhar was involved in any jihadist activities, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, now believe that unlike his brother Tamerlan, Dzhokhar "was never truly radicalized." Examinations of his computers did not reveal frequent visits to jihad websites, expressions of violent Islamist rhetoric or other suspicious activities. Some law enforcement officials told the WSJ that Dzhokhar "better fit[s] the psychological profile of an ordinary criminal than a committed terrorist."
On May 16, 2013, during CBS This Morning, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller said he had been told that Dzhokhar wrote a note in the boat in which he was hiding and claimed responsibility for the April 15 attack during the marathon. The note was scribbled with a pen on one of the inside walls of the cabin and said the bombings were payback for the U.S. military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and referred to the Boston victims as collateral damage, the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. He continued, "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims." He also said he did not mourn his brother's death because now Tamerlan was a martyr in paradise and that he (Dzhokhar) expected to join him in paradise. Miller's sources said the wall the note was written on had multiple bullet holes in it from the shots that were fired into the boat by police. According to Miller during the interview he gave on the morning show, he said that the note will be a significant piece of evidence in any Dzhokar trial and that it is "certainly admissible," and paints a clear picture of the brothers' motive, "consistent with what he told investigators while he was in custody."
Tsarnaev was the subject of a cover story for an August 2013 issue of Rolling Stone entitled "The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster." The magazine drew large amounts of criticism for this decision. Boston Mayor Tom Menino wrote that the cover "rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment. It is ill-conceived, at best, and re-affirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes'" while Massachusetts State Police sergeant Sean Murphy stated that "glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine." The New York Times used the same photo on their front page in May 2013, but did not draw criticism. Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi criticized those who took offense at the cover, arguing that their offense-taking was the result of their associating Rolling Stone with glamor instead of news, stating that The New York Times did not draw the criticism that Rolling Stone did, "because everyone knows the Times is a news organization. Not everyone knows that about Rolling Stone... because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication."
The editors of Rolling Stone posted the following response:
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS
Hours after this happened, many retailers that sold the magazine, such as CVS Pharmacy, BJ's Wholesale Club (which also no longer sells any future Rolling Stone issues), and others, announced that they would no longer sell the issue.
In December 2013, the Rolling Stone Tsarnaev cover was named the "Hottest Cover Of The Year" by Adweek magazine, with newsstand sales doubling from 60,000 to 120,000.
Tsarnaev's arraignment for 30 charges, including four for murder, occurred on July 10, 2013 in federal court in Boston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler. It was his first public court appearance. He pled not guilty to all 30 counts against him, which included using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death.
On January 30, 2014, United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A plea deal failed when the government refused to take the death penalty off the table.
The trial began on January 5, 2015; Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all thirty charges laid against him. The proceedings are led by Judge George O'Toole. Tsarnaev's attorney Judy Clarke said in her opening statement "it was him... There's little that occurred the week of April the 15th... that we dispute." Counter terrorism expert Matthew Levitt has gven testimony.
On April 8, 2015, Tsarnaev was found guilty on all thirty counts of the indictment. The charges of usage of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, in addition to aiding and abetting make Tsarnaev eligible for the death penalty