Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could die for his crimes.
The hospitalized 19-year-old was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property — and will not be tried as an enemy combatant, the White House said Monday.
“This is absolutely the right way to go and the appropriate way to go,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said regarding the decision.
If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty. He was also charged with one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.
“Today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
By filing the criminal charges, the Obama Administration soundly rejected calls from hawkish Republicans who wanted the suspected terrorist interrogated without the interference of his pesky rights as a U.S. citizen.
Tsarnaev allegedly set off the Boston Marathon bombs with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killing three and injuring 183 people. After the bloodthirsty siblings were named as suspects Thursday they killed an MIT campus cop, carjacked an SUV, and engaged in a furious gun battle with cops that left Tamerlan dead and another cop wounded, cops said.
A bloody and injured Tsarnaev was captured Friday evening, hiding in a boat in Watertown, Mass. On Monday he was reportedly answering FBI agents’ questions by nodding his head. He has been unable to speak due to a wound to his neck, which may have been the result of a failed suicide attempt.
The Department of Justice wouldn’t comment on its conversations with the alleged bomber.
Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan (black cap) are seen in the background of this photo from Monday’s marathon
“The government will always seek to elicit all the actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects taken into our custody,” said Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was among the lawmakers pressing for Dzhokhar to be declared an enemy combatant — a status that allows him to be questioned without a lawyer present.
Graham had harshly criticized the FBI for failing to keep track of Tamerlan when he took a trip to Russia in 2012 — despite a request from the Kremlin that American authorities investigate his possible terrorist ties.
But on Monday Graham said the FBI wasn’t to blame for Tamerlan slipping through the cracks — the bureau was foiled by a spelling error.
“He went over to Russia, but apparently when he got on the airplane, they misspelled his name, so it never went into the system that he actually went to Russia,” Graham said of Tsarnaev on Fox News Monday, citing an FBI assistant director as his source.
The FBI “did a very thorough search of the system,” he added, placing some of the blame on the Russians.
“They wrote the Russians back with all the information they gathered and said, ‘Do you have anything else?’ And the Russians never responded.”
Still, Graham doesn’t come close to State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Putnam County) who is calling for the harshest treatment possible of Tsarnaev: torture.
“Playing paddy cake with mass murdering killers is not effective,” Ball said in a statement. “Is ‘torture’ ever justified in the war against terror, if it can save lives? I am not shy in joining those who say yes.”
Read more: NY Daily News