After suspect's capture, questions remain in Boston bombing - Tucson News Now

Report: Bombing suspect unable to speak, holding up investigative process

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An image of Dzhorkar Tsarnaev moments after his capture hiding in a boat in Watertown, MA. Tsarnaev was shown as suspect # 2 in the Boston Marathon bombing. (Source: CNN) An image of Dzhorkar Tsarnaev moments after his capture hiding in a boat in Watertown, MA. Tsarnaev was shown as suspect # 2 in the Boston Marathon bombing. (Source: CNN)
Two brothers are allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. (Source: FBI) Two brothers are allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. (Source: FBI)
Residents all over Boston and the surrounding towns took to the streets to celebrate the capture of the second bombing suspect. (Source: CNN) Residents all over Boston and the surrounding towns took to the streets to celebrate the capture of the second bombing suspect. (Source: CNN)
After the second marathon bombing suspect was captured, people flocked to a makeshift memorial to the victims at the finish line. (Source: CNN) After the second marathon bombing suspect was captured, people flocked to a makeshift memorial to the victims at the finish line. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Plans to question and charge the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing have been put on hold because of physical condition.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was listed in serious condition Friday evening and is in Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the same hospital where his brother died early Friday morning after a night of mayhem.

A special interrogation team for high-value suspects planned to question Tsarnaev, the Associated Press reported.

However, he was physically unable to communicate with investigators, according to CNN. That has also put a hold on officials' plans to charge him with any crimes.

CNN also reported that Tsarnaev could be charge as early as Sunday. A judge could charge him at his bedside.

The Tsarnaev brothers were suspected of placing the two explosives at the Boston Marathon on Monday, which killed three and injured nearly 200, many of them grievously. The bombs were identified as homemade pressure cooker bombs.

The motive in the terror attack remains a mystery.

After authorities released photos Thursday of the suspects, taken at the marathon, the investigation accelerated quickly. There were reports of an MIT officer down, a carjacking and a gunfire and bomb battle in Watertown, MA. The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died early Friday morning after being wounded in the battle.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured Friday night after he was found sheltering in a boat in a residential neighborhood in Watertown. He had a standoff with police for about an hour. Additional rounds were fired during the standoff, but he was taken into custody peacefully.

In addition, the FBI took three people into custody for questioning in New Bedford, MA, CNN reports.

It's unclear at this time what their role is in this investigation.

U.S. attorney Carmen Ortiz said the "government has that opportunity right now" to use the public safety exemption to question the suspect without reading him his Miranda rights.

The police have a narrow public safety exemption in which they can question a subject if there is a pressing public safety issue, to protect police or the public from harm.

In the 1984 New York v. Benjamin Quarles case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that a suspect can be questioned before Miranda rights are read if there is a pressing public safety issue.

"We hold that on these facts there is a 'public safety' exception to the requirement that Miranda warnings be given before a suspect's answers may be admitted into evidence, and that the availability of that exception does not depend upon the motivation of the individual officers involved," the ruling stated.

After Sept. 11, the hole in Miranda rights, in which a suspect is supposed to be notified of his criminal rights before questioning, has been widened, according to Slate. The Department of Justice and the FBI can abrigate those rights at will, according to an October 2010 memo.

"Agents should ask any and all questions that are reasonably prompted by an immediate concern for the safety of the public or the arresting agents," stated the memo. "There may be exceptional cases in which, although all relevant public safety questions have been asked, agents nonetheless conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat, and that the government's interest in obtaining this intelligence outweighs the disadvantages of proceeding with unwarned interrogation."

The Boston Globe stated that in 2011, the FBI received a request from a foreign government for information about elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, stating that he was a follower of "radical Islam" who he had changed drastically, the bureau said in a statement Friday.

The FBI investigated and interviewed Tamerlan and family members. "The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign," the bureau said.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for Tsarnaev to be held as an enemy combatant.

"If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes," Graham tweeted.

In a joint statement, McCain and Graham stated, "Under the Law of War, we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel. Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks. We remain under threat from radical Islam and we hope the Obama Administration will seriously consider the enemy combatant option."

The Obama administration in March 2009 abandoned the term enemy combatant, though it has maintained the Bush-era right to hold foreign-born subjects it suspects of providing assistance to terrorism groups.

Tsarnaev is a naturalized American citizen as of Sept. 11, 2012, CNN stated.

As a citizen, Tsarnaev joins the ranks of domestic terrorists, of which there have been several.

The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, exploded his first bomb in 1978. Over the next 17 years, he mailed or delivered bombs that killed three and injured 24. Kaczynski was captured at his cabin in 1996, plead guilty in 1998, and now is held in isolation in a Supermax prison in Colorado.

Right-wing extremist Eric Rudolph exploded four bombs in Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta, killing two and injuring hundreds. After hiding out for years, he was discovered scavenging through a trash can in rural North Carolina and arrested. He pled guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168. He was executed in 2001, and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, is serving 161 consecutive life sentences.

The failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was sentenced to life in prison in October 2010 on federal terrorism charges after New York police found his Nissan Pathfinder loaded with explosives.

In his response to the capture, President Barack Obama praised the resilience of the area.

"Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they've already failed," he said. "They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated."

He also turned his thoughts to the victims of the bombing. "We think of all the wounded, still struggling to recover," he said. "Certainly we think of Krystle Campbell, we think of Lingzi Lu. We think of little Martin Richard. Their lives reflected all the diversity and beauty of our country. And they were sharing a great American experience together."

MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr., 33, was listed in stable condition Friday at Mount Auburn Hospital. He was wounded by the suspects late Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, the Boston area is erupting in cheers after a week of terror, blood, death and fear comes to an end.

The Boston Globe reported that at 10:30 p.m. in Watertown Square, a crowd of some 40 people waved American flags, chanting and cheering police. Similar scenes sprung up elsewhere throughout the Boston area.

In an unprecedented step, the Boston area was placed on lockdown most of Friday while police conducted a massive search for the armed and dangerous suspect. The lockdown was lifted shortly before the final confrontation when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's position was discovered by a nearby resident who alerted authorities.

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