Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed 3 people and wounded more than 260 others, pleaded not guilty on all counts during his arraignment today in a Boston federal court that was heavily guarded and swamped by spectators, including victims of the attack.
The 19-year-old, who faces a 30-count indictment including 17 charges punishable by death, repeated “not guilty” in a Russian accent multiple times, the Associate Press reports.
Appearing in public for the first time since his arrest April 19, Tsarnaev had his arm in a cast and appeared to have a jaw injury and swelling around his left eye, likely sustained during a firefight with police officers the night before he was captured covered in blood and hiding in a boat.
Tsarnaev arrived at the courthouse in a 4-car motorcade and later entered a packed courtroom, giving an awkward smile to his two sisters as he walked in.
The federal government has typically refrained from seeking the death penalty, and only three people have been executed under the federal death penalty since it was reinstated in 1988. Tsarnaev separately faces 15 charges in a Massachusetts court, but the state got rid of the death penalty in 1984.
Tsarnaev’s charges include using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use resulting in death. He is also accused of being involved in the killing of an MIT police officer as he and his brother fled authorities.
Tsarnaev’s brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is suspected to be the planner behind the attack, was killed in the shoot-out with police.
The court indictment says Tsarnaev wrote about his motives inside the boat in which he was hiding.
“Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but … stop killing our innocent people and we will stop,” he wrote, according to authorities.