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Boston Bombing Suspect Indicted; Could Face Death Penalty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Getty Images
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A federal grand jury handed down a 30-count indictment against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing today. Dzohkhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston on July 10.

The charges against Tsarnaev, 19, include killing four people and using weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts announced on its Twitter feed. The attacks also injured more than 250 people.

Update at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Speaking at a new conference announcing the charges Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz summarized the string of violent events that began with the marathon bombing and ended with Dzohkhar Tsarnaev's capture in Watertown, Mass., on April 19.

Ortiz said that Tsarnaev could face a punishment of life in prison, and possibly the death penalty.

"Seventeen of the charges authorize a penalty of up to life in prison or the death penalty," according to a press release announcing the indictment. "The remaining charges authorize a maximum penalty of life in prison or a fixed term of years."

The indictment says that "no later than February 2013," Tsarnaev and his late brother, Tamerlan, began working on a plot to use explosives to kill people in a public place.

Update at 1:43 p.m. ET. Other Charges:

David Abel, a reporter for The Boston Globe, has been tweeting some details of the charges against Tsarnaev. He reports that in addition to the deaths of three people at the marathon, Tsarnaev is charged with the murder of MIT police Officer Sean Collier. Abel adds:

"Tsarnaev charges include 'bombing of a place of public use' and 'malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy.'

"More charges against Tsarnaev: 'carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce by threats or violence.'

"17 charges authorize life imprisonment or the death penalty of Tsarnaev."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.