BOSTON (NEWS1130) – The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.
Gary Wente, circuit executive of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals, says Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, made his first appearance before a magistrate judge today in Beth Israel hospital.
A team of special investigators reportedly asked Tsarnaev about whether there are any other cell members or unexploded bombs.
He responded to questions in writing, according to American news sources.
A former-CIA analyst explained the train of thought he expected the questioning would follow.
“Are there any more plots out there? Are you working with anyone else here in the United States?” the analyst said. “Obviously at this point you need to try to prevent any additional attacks in the United States so that’s the first thing you’re going to want to know.”
“Then you’re probably going to start moving toward the history, how did we get to the Boston Marathon bombing?”
Two US officials say preliminary evidence from an interrogation suggests the suspects in the attack were motivated by religion but were apparently not tied to any Islamic terrorist groups.
The two brothers, ethnic Chechens, practiced Islam.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.
Tsarnaev is listed as being in serious condition and reportedly suffered wounds to the neck, that at one point had officials saying he may never speak again.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says it’s unclear how he suffered the neck wound.
“This is a very complex investigation, and it’s hard to say exactly how he received this injury, there was certainly a shootout in Watertown, there were explosives thrown,” Davis said.
In a new development, the man whose vehicle the brothers hijacked was reportedly told by them that they intended to head to New York next with an arsenal of weapons and bombs.
He and his older brother are accused of setting off twin explosions at last Monday’s marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 180 others.
If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty.
The White House says the surviving suspect will not be tried as an enemy combatant.
Spokesman Jay Carney says Tsarnaev will be prosecuted in the federal court system as a naturalized US citizen.
The FBI is hoping to gain insight into the reasoning behind the actions of Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a gunfight with police.
They admit that they interviewed the older Tsarnaev several years ago at the request of a foreign government, over fears of ties to extremist groups.
Nothing was found in that investigation and it appears he was able to slip off the FBI radar.
Officials are now focusing on a trip the older Tsarnaev took to the Russian province of Dagestan in 2012, where some officials have speculated he was fully radicalized.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino speculated that the older Tsarnaev may have “brainwashed or manipulated” his younger brother.
Things are returning to normal in Boston, after the city was shut down on Friday as police agencies from across the state searched for for the suspect.
Engineers are examining the structures near the scene of the blast before fully re-opening it to the public.
A funeral was held for one of the victims of the bombing on Monday.