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Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleads not guilty

  • This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)

    This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)

  • This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)

    This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)

  • MIT police officers stand at attention outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. MIT officer Sean Collier was killed by the alleged suspects. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

    MIT police officers stand at attention outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. MIT officer Sean Collier was killed by the alleged suspects. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

  • FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

    FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

  • Local and federal law enforcement officers stand outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. Tsarnaev is scheduled to appear in court for the first time since he was captured days after the April 15 explosion. The attack killed three and wounded more than 260. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

    Local and federal law enforcement officers stand outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. Tsarnaev is scheduled to appear in court for the first time since he was captured days after the April 15 explosion. The attack killed three and wounded more than 260. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

  • This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)
  • This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Margaret Small)
  • MIT police officers stand at attention outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. MIT officer Sean Collier was killed by the alleged suspects. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
  • FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces arraignment in federal court Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Boston. The 19-year-old has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)
  • Local and federal law enforcement officers stand outside the federal courthouse prior to arraignment for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Boston. Tsarnaev is scheduled to appear in court for the first time since he was captured days after the April 15 explosion. The attack killed three and wounded more than 260. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

His arm in a cast and his face swollen, a blase-looking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty yesterday in the Boston Marathon bombing in a seven-minute proceeding that marked his first appearance in public since his capture in mid-April.

As survivors of the bombing looked on in a Boston courtroom, Tsarnaev, 19, gave a small, lopsided smile to his two sisters upon arriving in the courtroom. He appeared to have a jaw injury and there was swelling around his left eye and cheek.

Leaning into the microphone, he told a federal judge, “Not guilty,” in his Russian accent and said it over and over as the charges were read. Then he was led away in handcuffs, making a kissing gesture toward his family with his lips. One of his sisters sobbed loudly, resting her head on a woman seated next to her.

Tsarnaev, who has been hospitalized since his capture with wounds suffered in a shootout and getaway attempt, faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, in connection with the April 15 attack, which left three people dead and more than 260 wounded. He could get the death penalty if prosecutors choose to pursue it.

The proceedings took place in a heavily guarded courtroom packed not only with victims but with their families, police officers, and members of the public and the media.

The Russian immigrant and former college student looked much as he did in a photo widely circulated after his arrest, his hair curly and unkempt. Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, he appeared nonchalant, almost bored, during the hearing. The cast covered his left forearm, hand and fingers.

The bombing victims showed little reaction in the courtroom after a federal marshal warned them against any outbursts.

Liz Norden, the mother of two men who lost their right legs in the bombings, said afterward: “I actually felt sick to my stomach.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Chief John DiFava, who was also in the courtroom, said Tsarnaev looked “smug.”

“I didn’t see a lot of remorse. I didn’t see a lot of regret,” he said. “It just seemed to me that if I was in that position, I would have been a lot more nervous, certainly scared.”

DiFava added, “I just wanted to see him. I wanted to see the person that so coldly and callously killed four people, one of whom being an officer of mine.”

Authorities say Tsarnaev orchestrated the bombing along with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a gun battle with the police three days after the attack. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested April 19, hiding in a bloodstained boat in a suburban backyard after a manhunt that paralyzed much of the Boston area.

Tsarnaev is also charged in the killing of a MIT police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during their getaway attempt.

His two sisters were in court wearing traditional Muslim scarves called hijabs. One was carrying a baby; the other wiped away tears with a tissue. Tsarnaev’s parents remain in Russia.

Tsarnaev’s attorney Judy Clarke, an expert in death penalty cases, asked that the judge enter not-guilty pleas for him, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said, “I would ask him to answer.”

On the same day as the arraignment, Boston’s police commissioner appeared on Capitol Hill and told a Senate panel that the Justice Department failed to share information on terrorism threats with local officials before the bombing.

“There is a gap with information sharing at a higher level while there are still opportunities to intervene in the planning of these terrorist events,” Commissioner Edward Davis III said.

Reporters and spectators began lining up for seats in the courtroom at 7:30 a.m. as a dozen Federal Protective Service officers and bomb-sniffing dogs surrounded the courthouse. Four hours before the 3:30 p.m. hearing, the defendant arrived at the courthouse in a four-vehicle motorcade.

About a dozen Tsarnaev supporters cheered as the motorcade arrived. The demonstrators yelled, “Justice for Jahar!” as Tsarnaev is known. One woman held a sign that said, “Free Jahar.”

Lacey Buckley said she traveled from her home in Wenatchee, Wash., to attend the arraignment. She said she believes he is innocent. “I just think so many of his rights were violated. They almost murdered an unarmed kid in a boat,” she said.

A group of friends who were on the high school wrestling team with Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin waited in line for hours, hoping to get a seat.

One of them, Hank Alvarez, said Tsarnaev was calm, peaceful and apolitical in high school.

“Just knowing him, it’s hard for me to face the fact that he did it,” said Alvarez, 19, of Cambridge.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev, a Muslim, wrote about his motivations for the bombing on the inside walls and beams of the boat. He scrawled that the U.S. government was “killing our innocent civilians,” and also wrote: “We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Marie Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, 23, were killed by the two bombs, which were fashioned out of pressure cookers, gunpowder, nails and other shrapnel. Numerous victims lost legs.

Tsarnaev, Carter, Robarge, etc, what do they get out of killing? Why would they want to kill folks they did or didn't know? Revenge? Anger? Thrill-kill excitement? Does this make them somehow in control of their small miserable life? I normally am not one to endorse the death penalty but there doesn't seem to be a deterrent anymore to these heinous crimes. All these folks have thrown their lives away for what? A moment's pleasure? What a waste of skin....

I agree Gen Xer. I also never understood the women who get engaged to killers on death row, get married in prison, etc. The guy will never get out of prison. I can never understand how they can love a killer.

"Lacey Buckley said she traveled from her home in Wenatchee, Wash., to attend the arraignment. She said she believes he is innocent. “I just think so many of his rights were violated. They almost murdered an unarmed kid in a boat,” she said." Yeah, riiiiight. I suppose she thinks it was "an inside job" like 9/11--part of the New World Order trying to take over the country. Where do people get these lame-brained ideas?

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