Will Tsarnaev’s Lawyers Claim Mental Illness?

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. –Provided by FBI

Federal prosecutors preparing the case against alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are asking defense attorneys to advise whether they plan to claim the 19-year-old was mentally ill.

The Globe reports:

The prosecutors, in a motion filed today, asked for notification in writing "of any intention by the defendant to introduce expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant which bears on either the issue of guilt or the issue of punishment."

If convicted in the first phase of his trial, Tsarnaev will face a second phase in which a jury will determine whether to impose the death penalty.

Tsarnaev’s now-deceased brother and alleged accomplice Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly wrestled with hearing voices himself, with some family members noting they were concerned about his mental health before the bombings.


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