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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Arraignment: Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect To Hear Charges

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FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. If the Obama administration seeks the death penalty against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it would face a long, difficult legal battle with uncertain prospects for success in a state that hasn’t seen an execution in nearly 70 years. Attorney General Eric Holder will have to decide several months before the start of any trial
FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. If the Obama administration seeks the death penalty against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it would face a long, difficult legal battle with uncertain prospects for success in a state that hasn’t seen an execution in nearly 70 years. Attorney General Eric Holder will have to decide several months before the start of any trial

BOSTON -- A man accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings with his brother has arrived in a courtroom for his first public appearance since the deadly attack.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) is being arraigned in federal court in Boston on 30 charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

The April 15 attack killed three people and wounded more than 260. Authorities say the 19-year-old Tsarnaev orchestrated the attack along with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a shootout with police three days after the bombing.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested on April 19 when he was found hiding in a boat in a suburban backyard. His first court appearance took place at a hospital, where he was recovering from injuries suffered in the police shootout.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, their families, police officers, members of the public and the media packed a courtroom Wednesday to await the arraignment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on terrorism charges.

Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty, was to appear in court for the first time since he was found bleeding and hiding in a boat in a suburb days after the April 15 explosion. He has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The 30-count indictment against Tsarnaev includes 17 charges carrying the death penalty or life imprisonment. Aside from bombing-related counts, it also contains charges covering the slaying of a police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during the getaway attempt that left Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan, dead.

The courthouse was jammed with media, supporters, ex-classmates and victims' families. Tsarnaev's two sisters, both dressed in Muslim garb, were there. One was carrying a baby, the other wiped away tears with a tissue.

Reporters and spectators began lining up for seats in the courtroom at 7:30 a.m. as a dozen Federal Protective Service officers and bomb-sniffing dogs surrounded the courthouse.

Four hours before the hearing, the 19-year-old defendant arrived at the courthouse in a four-vehicle motorcade that included a van, a Humvee and a state police car.

A group of about a dozen Tsarnaev supporters cheered as the motorcade arrived. The demonstrators yelled "Justice for Jahar," as Tsarnaev is known. One woman held a sign that said, "Free Jahar."

Lacey Buckley, 23, said she traveled from her home in Wenatchee, Wash., to attend the arraignment. Buckley said she has never met Tsarnaev but came because she believes he's innocent. "I just think so many of his rights were violated. They almost murdered an unarmed kid in a boat," she said.

A group of friends who were on the high school wrestling team with Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin waited in line outside the courtroom for hours, hoping to get a seat.

One of them, Hank Alvarez, said Tsarnaev was calm, peaceful and apolitical in high school.

"Just knowing him, it's hard for me to face the fact that he did it," said Alvarez, 19, of Cambridge.

Another ex-teammate, Shun Tsou, 20, of Cambridge, called Tsarnaev "a silent warrior type."

"There was nothing sketchy about him," said Tsou, adding that he had not formed an opinion on Tsarnaev's guilt or innocence.

Tsarnaev has yet to appear publicly since his April 19 arrest. His initial court appearance took place at a hospital, where he was recovering from injuries suffered in a shootout with police the day before in the Boston suburb of Watertown.

Authorities say he had escaped in a hijacked car after running over his brother and alleged co-conspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following the shootout with police. But he was found the next day after a lockdown in Watertown was lifted and a local homeowner noticed blood on the dry-docked boat.

Tsarnaev's arrest stunned those who knew him as a likable high school athlete in Cambridge, where he lived with his older brother after his parents left for Russia.

His parents were in Makhachkala, in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, on Wednesday. His mother declined to comment.

Tsarnaev's defense team has declined to comment on the accusations. The team includes prominent death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke, whose clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph; and Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner. All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev, a Muslim, wrote about his motivations for the bombing on the inside walls and beams of the boat where he was hiding.

He wrote the U.S. government was "killing our innocent civilians."

"I don't like killing innocent people," he said, but also wrote: "I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. ... We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

The indictment also said that, sometime before the bombings, Tsarnaev downloaded Internet material from Islamic extremists that advocated violence against the perceived enemies of Islam.

Three people - Martin Richard, 8; Krystle Marie Campbell, 29; and Lingzi Lu, 23 - were killed by the bombs, which were improvised from pressure cookers. Authorities say the Tsarnaevs also killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier days later while they were on the run.

Numerous bombing victims had legs amputated after the two explosions, which detonated along the final stretch of the race a couple hours after the elite runners had finished.

___

Associated Press writer Arsen Mollayev in Makhachkala, Russia, contributed to this report.

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