More details sought on mute Boston bomb suspect

By Eileen Sullivan

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 23 2013 8:28 a.m. MDT

Lt. Mike Murphy of the Newton, Mass., fire dept., carries an American flag down the middle of Boylston Street after observing a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon near the race finish line, Monday, April 22, 2013, in Boston, Mass. At 2:50 p.m., exactly one week after the bombings, many bowed their heads and cried at the makeshift memorial on Boylston Street, three blocks from the site of the explosions, where bouquets of flowers, handwritten messages, and used running shoes were piled on the sidewalk.

Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press

BOSTON — The 19-year-old charged with the Boston Marathon bombing, his throat injured by a gunshot wound, wrote down answers to the questions of investigators about his motives and connections to any terror networks.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's answers led them to believe he and his brother were motivated by a radical brand of Islam without major terror connections, said U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

But the written communication precluded back-and-forth exchanges often crucial to establishing key facts and meaning, said officials who cautioned they were still trying to verify what Tsarnaev told them and were poring over his telephone and online communications.

Tsarnaev was interrogated and charged Monday in his hospital room, where he was in serious condition with the throat wound and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway. His brother, Tamerlan, 26, died Friday after a fierce gunbattle with police.

The charges came just hours before a memorial service for one of the three people killed in the bombings, 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, was held at the school and attended by hundreds of people, including Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

"She's gone but our memories of her are very much alive," said her father, Lu Jun, who spoke in his native tongue and was followed by an English interpreter. "An ancient Chinese saying says every child is actually a little Buddha that helps their parents mature and grow up."

Tsarnaev, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was accused of joining with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed Lu and two other people and wounded more than 200 on April 15.

The next step in the legal process against Tsarnaev is likely to be an indictment, in which federal prosecutors could add new charges. State prosecutors have said they expect to charge Tsarnaev separately in the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was shot in his cruiser Thursday night on the campus in Cambridge.

After Tsarnaev is indicted in the bombing, he will have an arraignment in federal court, when he will be asked to enter a plea.

Under federal law, as a defendant charged with a crime that carries a potential death penalty, he is entitled to at least one lawyer who is knowledgeable about the law in capital cases. Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad, whose office has been asked to represent Tsarnaev, filed a motion Monday asking that two death penalty lawyers be appointed to represent Tsarnaev, "given the magnitude of this case."

A probable cause hearing — at which prosecutors will spell out the basics of their case — was set for May 30. According to a clerk's notes of Monday's proceedings in the hospital, U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler indicated she was satisfied that Tsarnaev was "alert and able to respond to the charges."

Tsarnaev did not speak during Monday's proceeding, except to answer "no" when he was asked if he could afford his own lawyer, according to the notes. He nodded when asked if he was able to answer some questions and whether he understood his rights.

Conrad declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

The criminal complaint outlining the allegations shed no light on the motive for the attack. The two U.S. officials who spoke anonymously said preliminary evidence from the interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organizations.

The brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had been living in the U.S. for about a decade, practiced Islam.

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