A Massachusetts court on Monday issued a default arrest warrant for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev so he can be arraigned on state charges in connection with the killing of an MIT police officer.
Tsarnaev, 20, is in federal custody and has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a potential death sentence if convicted. He is accused of helping plant two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Monday’s action was a procedural step needed so that Tsarnaev will eventually appear in state court to face charges in connection with the flight and shootings that officials say were part of the aftermath of the bombings. Tsarnaev will likely not appear in state court until the federal case is resolved.
“It is the intention of the Middlesex District Attorney that the defendant stand trial for these charges in Middlesex County,” Dist. Atty. Marian T. Ryan’s office said in a statement emailed to reporters.
Tsarnaev is accused of acting with his brother, Tamerlan, 26, to plant the bombs. After the explosions, the brothers were identified by authorities based on video evidence from the scene and a massive manhunt took place through the Boston metropolitan area.
On April 18, authorities said, the two shot and killed Officer Sean Collier in Cambridge, then fled again. Tamerlan was shot in a subsequent confrontation with police and run over by his fleeing brother. He was pronounced dead on April 19.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown home on the evening of April 19.
On June 27, he was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on charges of murder, attempted armed robbery, armed assault with intent to murder (four counts), assault with a dangerous weapon (four counts), kidnapping, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a large capacity feeding device, and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.
Monday's default warrant was issued after a brief hearing in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. Tsarnaev was not present in court.