Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might face additional charges related to the Watertown shootout and the murder of MIT cop Sean Collier. That is, if Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan has her way.

Tsarnaev, already found guilty on federal murder charges, is likely to appeal his conviction—completely routine for someone convicted of a capital crime. What is not routine, and indeed almost unheard of, is for someone facing the death penalty after being convicted of murder in a federal court to face additional charges from a local jurisdiction. Although federal death sentences are themselves rare, most experts seem to agree additional local charges are redundant and a waste of resources.

Observers are scratching their heads about Ryan’s efforts—particularly in light of the fact that Massachusetts does not have the death penalty. At worst, Tsarnaev will have an additional life sentence tacked on to his existing sentence.

Ryan cited the “severity of the crime” as justification for her decision. She also indicated that “state charges could act as an insurance policy in case Tsarnaev successfully appeals his federal conviction.”

Does the Middlesex County DA really think there’s a chance Tsarnaev might be exonerated upon appeal?

This would be an abrupt departure from law enforcement’s confidence about Tsarnaev’s guilt.

Or is this just a political maneuver by an elected official trying to latch herself on to a high profile case?

Photo credit: Daderot / Wikimedia

Photo credit: Daderot / Wikimedia

Experts Weigh in

The Boston Globe noted that the experts they consulted couldn’t think of another case where someone facing federal capital charges was tried again on additional state charges.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, DC, said that, “There is no legal impediment to doing it. The question is whether it is a waste of resources.”

In fact, most legal experts quoted by Boston-area news outlets expressed a similar sentiment, saying that state charges would be “redundant” and would only “drag out the process.”

Brad Bailey, a former prosecutor for Middlesex County, told Boston’s WBUR: “With somebody facing the ultimate penalty like that, one wonders really what the necessity is to try for an outcome that is something less than [the death penalty].” Massachusetts has no death penalty; life without parole is the maximum sentence a state court can hand down.

Another former prosecutor, Brian T. Kelly, told The Globe, “You have all the problems with the federal case. It becomes a media circus, a security nightmare, and it takes up a lot of expense and the courts time.” But he added: “It’s understandable that [local authorities] would want him to be held accountable for the murder of a police officer.”


Considering the time and expense of another trial, it is hard to see what obtaining another life sentence might accomplish. How could Tsarnaev possibly be held more accountable than what he’s already facing? Even if his lawyers succeed in removing the federal death penalty conviction upon appeal, he’s still likely to face life in prison.

So, what else could possibly justify the expense, security risks, and additional anguish for families of the bombing victims that a new trial would surely bring? Is this simply overreach by an up-and-coming DA? If the comments sections of local Boston news websites are any indication, the public seems dead set against the idea. If that’s indeed the case, Ryan’s move would be politically ill-advised.

Or is it possible there’s a legitimate fear in law-enforcement circles that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be exonerated, or set free because of prosecutorial missteps or misconduct in the recently completed federal trial?

One more factor must be considered. A new trial before another judge has the potential to focus attention on the many loose ends in the case against the Tsarnaevs that have remained unresolved despite “official investigations” and their subsequent “findings.”

In particular, Cambridge, in Middlesex County, was where local police found multiple teams of federal agents “conducting surveillance” in the general vicinity of the Tsarnaev’s neighborhood, as well as on the campus of MIT where Sean Collier was killed. They did this without the knowledge of Cambridge PD which caused some friction and created suspicion among local police that the FBI might have been tracking the Tsarnaevs. The FBI calls those assertions “patently false.” They claim not to have known who the suspects were until after older brother Tamerlan’s death.

It will be interesting to see if the FBI or some other federal agency tries to dissuade DA Ryan in her quest to bring local charges. More than likely they won’t have to; public sentiment may do the job for them.

It’s worth repeating: The evidence clearly shows that the Tsarnaev brothers were involved in the violence that erupted in and around Boston that week. But it’s also clear there are important questions and nagging inconsistencies—including those that touch on the US government’s connections with the brothers before the bombing—that cry out for resolution. Maybe DA Ryan thinks so too?

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Steve Sperdacion

they’d better dump his body in the ocean soon or it will become a shrine.


You might feel bad one day for saying this, since the kid really is in a lot of danger simply for being alive.

Steve Sperdacion

Well I hope it becomes untrue but he was in danger already, not from anything I said.

Sandra C Balentine

I can’t get over people’s need for blood .


Deeply embedded in the culture of the US! Many. There are those Americans, (hopefully a minority), who take great pride in their bloodlust and quest for vengeance. Do you remember those stickers so frequently seen emblazoned on the rear cab windows of over-sized pickup trucks at the beginning of the Iraq war? The stars and stripes under which was printed “Fear this.” Seriously?


You have that right…Families seemed respect or revenge using fist, a shiner or hurt ego!!! ( my time ) now guns, bombs and even fake blood

Steve Sperdacion

do you feel the need to put this disclaimer in the end? “It’s worth repeating: The evidence clearly shows that the Tsarnaev brothers were involved in the violence that erupted in and around Boston that week.” It just looks bad because this site is about real journalism, who what why, I assume you care about when and how too . . . apply that to the evidence. Does it really clearly show what you say it does?

Sandra C Balentine

The the evidence shows nothing. In fact the evidence they did present was obviously fake. For instance the jet black backpack they showed that it exploded with the bomb. Tamerlan was carrying a dark grey Backpack Jahar was carrying a what and gray backpack. And they tell us the truth never changes. But check out how many times Danny story changes completely changes3 times. also watch the video of them pulling up at the gas station where Jahar they tell us that jahar was sitting in the backseat because Danny was in the front seat being held at gunpoint by Timberland you can clearly see the back door and it never opens but yet Jahar gets out the car

Ralph Hornsby

Victims injuries should be questioned. Victims should be questioned. The publicists that were hired before bombing for the victims should be questioned. All the victims related to law enforcement should be questioned. Photographers should be questioned. Why are there photos of a reflection of a green screen being used? The blast itself should be questioned. Why does it look different than a real pressure cooker blast? Why does it resemble Hollywood explosions? Why are people’s pants shredded like they were cut with scissors and no injuries on their legs? Why were some victims seen walking around helping people with no blood on them and then seen being rolled away in wheelchairs and covered in blood?


Why were victims Pete DiMartino and James Costello in a 2012 DHS Urban Shield traing video playing victims and then show up a year later in the same place as victims in Boston marathon? There is video of them in the Urban Shield video. Research it. It is them.

Sandra C Balentine

Again I don’t have time for this I’m not trying to convince you cuz obviously the victims have you convinced. All I’m saying is there need to be more evidence to get the death penalty they showed no evidence none were you in that courtroom you know people that were in that courtroom cuz i do


And how did Tamerlans shoes magically change on Bolyston from Trainers to hipster leather shoes?


It’s funny you should bring up the local commenters on local news organizations, because before and during the trial (both phases) the comment boards on all of the major Boston news outlets was riddled with the most horrendous and vile comments towards the family, Islam, and most of them very pro death penalty. This, from a community that is supposedly 80% against Death penalty. I noticed that articles after the sentencing, regarding this young man, were mostly absent these vile comments.

But, apparently the Government uses comment boards and social media to influence public opinion. They have admitted this, AND they pay people to do it.

So, if you are a Jurist on the case are you going to be reading the Boston Globe and comments, etc? I’m sure all those jurists were reading those anti-Islamic and anti-Tsarnaev comments.

I hope they do have the trial. It cannot hurt this kid anymore than what they have already done to him, but there’s always that small chance that something will come up in the trial to raise doubts on the entire Trial. After all, about 900 files remain sealed on the case.

Although, the one down side of this new trial might possibly entail more torture of Dzhokhar (to keep him in compliance). Why would anyone think he wasn’t tortured? This is routine in America and we have people in high places viciously defending the practice.


Btw: Judy Clarke just got an award for her “lifetime service” to the courts (Government), with a standing ovation. This is how much our country has declined, handing out awards and rewarding people who are basically insulting our constitution and laws. In a world of reality, she would be investigated for her actions in the Tsarnaev case. Poor kid didn’t have a chance, and he has no idea since he has been in solitary for 2 years.


Whilst I agree with Clarke’s words on the death penalty as quoted in the article to which you posted a link, (it is ” arbitrary and barbaric” and should be an “embarrassment” to the US), and obviously applaud her opposition to the death penalty, I believe that attorneys such as she, in focusing on avoiding the death penalty at all costs, have somehow left “defense” by the wayside.

As mentioned by James Henry, DA Ryan’s stated intent in the case of Tsarnaev is unprecedented and wholly unpopular in Massachusetts. As Tsarnaev has already been “held responsible” for the murder of Officer Collier by way of a federal conviction what could be her real intent? Does she realize how insubstantial the government’s case against Tsarnaev really was, (especially when you consider the bulk of the so-called “evidence”), and fear the federal conviction may be overturned, or does she suspect more?

Mention of “evidentiary insufficiency” in the latest filing by Tsaranaev’s defense, (Doc: 1490), is interesting.


Enough already…read the writing between the lines…that dog and pony show was not a trial,…I am certain ,DT really questions himself at this time! Why doesn’t, Boston spend tax money and fight the corruption at of turn !!! Absolutely crazy…set this kid free, till all of “idiots” can figure out , who will do what, where, when…and by the way…see how many more young folks you can terrorize…KEEP AMERICA SAFE
…uttered tongue in cheek !!!


Jahar should be made the poster boy for “AMERICAN JUSTICE DENIED” maybe, the Feds can build him a tunnel, by now they should know , he is easier to control, then say ISIL Crazy World


HEY BOSTON….Someone , please ,take an oath ,on the Bible….to tell the truth and explain to a senior citizen….just how that back pack changed colors….and keep a straight face. If someone lies ,they will cheat, betray, and turn their backs on you Bostonians


Will they be charging him with vehicular manslaughter for the death of his older brother Tamerlin as well? Or does the justice system still “cherry pick”charges that they can convict on???


Bah hah ha! On what evidence? LE can not not agree on what happened, total circus….To be gross….Tams autopsy or death photo showed no signs of being run over by a vehicle. I am unable to find a full report! This was part of taking Jahar as low as he could go. If we could hear one true fact, from anyone…maybe I could clear my neg. opinion


I want to see SAM, trashed, If a terrorist is a ” bad guy” I want to know all, that is how my family has protected itself. I may have heard LE said ,”it was a lone wolf”, attack, got the bad guy …all safe, hmmmmm! I want, facts, truth, and real justice Who does SAM protect me. This is going to be a very generalized statement, so not responsible for exact details.
Iran/contra scandle…Reagan years . Gun and missiles sold for cash….cash used to train Syrians in ( terrorism) Halliburton became wealthy selling all needed to outfit young Muslim men, Osama Bin Laden, became a great warrior, turned on western countries, Started his own crap. 911, then stupid war on people we armed and trained, we take prisoners, torture them, terrorize the extended families and friends, Halliburton builds prisons, staffs them with our own law enforcement ( FBI, CIA, mercenaries, special ops) slap them with this SAM BS) and call it all national security….What a Mee! Halliburton (Cheney) gets rich, most all involved in Iran/Contra ,pardoned by Bush 1 and on and on”……
Now for Real Ass kicker….Cheney – Halliburton
Graham Fuller- Uncle Ruslan (Halliburton) Brothers
Halliburton-Cheney-Fuller- Russian Mafia
(Isolation, torture, mercenaries , CIA,)
My new catch phrase Covert Government, Wow…and they kill and terrorize Humans, Are Americans not deemed the leader in Human Rights
I have notebooks full of all of the links !


“It’s worth repeating: The evidence clearly shows that the Tsarnaev
brothers were involved in the violence that erupted in and around Boston
that week.”

How is that worth repeating? It is clearly wrong to make such a misleading statement. It implies that they were responsible for the violence that erupted that week.

The only evidence shown, applied more to the guys standing around wearing khaki pants and carrying black backpacks that day. If you mean the Tsarnaev brothers’ involvement in the violence was in their roles as patsies then that would be worth repeating.

snoopy squeaks

I agree with the people who think this might actually be a plus. As long as this young man has a spotlight, the inconsistencies in the entire case will remain a focus. Most people repeat the mantra “it was him” because his lawyer said so and he later said so. There is little else in the case that could not have been refuted in court.
The entire case was won on the Defense’s modus operandi.


Please Uncle Sam, please stop protecting me, while…Can the truth be this difficult? If it is….should you be doing it?
Justice for Jahar ! Under his constitutional rights!

From Our Facebook Page

(Comment by Mitchell Renner) Wouldn’t it be great some day to see those lying and creating the webs of lies, in a courtroom on the stand with evidence presented against them. To see that look in their eyes. How they can betray the public trust and mislead everyone. What possible motive can motivate them? What kind of morosity and degradation of the human spirit does it take to be a member of that club?

ann Smith

Ludicrous waste of taxpayer money. Will she also fly in his distant relatives – gratis – as was done previously? They had not seen him since he was a child but were flown in and housed in a top hotel all on the public dime so they could testify on his behalf and their stories were all about a child they knew long long ago. Stupid stupid stupid.


It can’t hurt Tsarnaev anymore than they have already done, so I hope they have the trial in the chance their case will get even more convoluted and absurd to the point the public will have to start looking at the facts rather than the emotions.


So, all of a sudden you’ve changed you opinion as to their guilt after 2 years of denying it. Just what evidence “clearly shows” their involvement in the violence that week? Other than being on the receiving end of it?


The Tsarnaev lawyers filed a motion for new trial BUT this is done “routinely” in all death row cases.

“But this latest motion by Defense was done purely as a “placeholder”. They had deadlines given to them by Judge O’Toole, and have stated that they will be filing in August the more detailed beginnings of the appeal.”

It is nothing to get excited about. Judy Clarke was able to convince Tsarnaev of her strategy because he has brain trauma.


They didn’t make a big deal out of it, But Tsarnaev was just moved to ADX Supermax from the federal penitentiary he was sent to after his death sentence.
Isn’t this the “vacation” all the Pro-deathers wanted to prevent him from going?
Associated Press via Yahoo news:


Yes, defense obviously did not succeed in persuading those pro-deathers that the abomination known as ADX was anywhere near “bad” enough.

New article posted on BBN:


There’s one thing that makes the whole official story implausible.


If you’re an angry, extremist Muslim who wants to kill Americans and you’re able to do so in US soil, you have to tell the world you did it. Or at least send an anonymous letter to a newspaper, anything, that clearly says “These people died because the US is killing my brothers in the Middle East”. Why in the world would you plan and execute an attack like that, then leave the motive up for speculation?

Is this what the brothers thought?

“Oh, we killed some Americans, now we’re going to move on with our lives, anonymously.”

“We’re just gonna tell our closest friends we did it.”

“Only our mullah will know about it.”

“Let them think it was a right-wing nut. But Allah will know! Ha!”

C’mon… WWW should question this aspect too.