A federal judge in Boston today set a November trial date for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the young man charged in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings that shook the nation last year, raising again the specter of terrorism on American soil.
US District Court Judge George A. O’Toole slated the trial for Nov. 3, much sooner than the earliest date suggested by defense attorneys in the high-profile death penalty case.
Judge O’Toole said the government’s request for a trial this fall was more reasonable than the defense’s. The defense had asked for a trial in September 2015, at the earliest.
After the hearing was over, bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, said, “I think it should be sooner. Why not? Everybody should be on the same page. It’s pretty cut and dry with the evidence. Don’t waste anybody’s time.”
O’Toole set another hearing in the case for June 18. The two sides are expected to discuss that day whether the defense wants a change of venue.
Defense attorneys also argued today that they are not getting access to evidence they need to prepare their case, including 2,000 items still being analyzed at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va.
Tsarnaev, 20, who did not attend the hearing, is facing numerous charges in the April 15 blasts that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. The blasts, which tore through the happy crowds at a world-renowned sporting event, made headlines worldwide.
Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, also allegedly killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge a few days later as they sought to flee the area. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who also allegedly participated in the Marathon bombings, was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown several hours later.
Later the same day, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, hiding in a boat in Watertown. Authorities say he had been inspired by Al Qaeda publications and had allegedly scrawled in a note on the boat that he had acted because “the US government is killing our innocent civilans. ... We Muslims are one body; you hurt one, you hurt us all.”