The brothers who waged terror on the city of Boston last week do not appear to be connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, U.S. officials concluded after interrogating severely wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Officials believe the two brothers were motivated by their religious faith when they embarked on a campaign to kill.
The 19-year-old was finally charged Monday in the bombing attack. U.S. officials said they wanted to delay reading him his Miranda rights, which guarantee a defendant the right to remain silent, so that they could question him about the possibility of other planted bombs that could cause harm.
Officials released a transcript of the proceedings, where a magistrate read Tsarnaev his rights at his hospital bedside. He is accused of federal crimes punishable by the death penalty.
Officials believe Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, used pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 at the Boston Marathon. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a police shootout Friday.
Because of the nature of his wounds, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had to communicate with his interrogators in writing. Officials acknowledged it was a less-than-ideal format that didn’t allow for the detailed back-and-forth questioning normally used.
Officials told the Associated Press that evidence suggests the Tsarnaev brothers were driven by religion, but had no ties to Islamic terrorist organizations. But police were still verifying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s statements, and examining his telephone and online communications and associations with others. He is listed in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries.
“Although our investigation is ongoing, 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.
On the steps of the state Capitol, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick bowed his head at 2:50 p.m. Monday and said, after a moment of silence, “God bless the people of Massachusetts. Boston Strong.”
The FBI said Tsarnaev was seen on surveillance cameras putting a knapsack on the ground near the site of the second blast, then manipulating a cellphone and lifting it to his ear. Seconds later, the FBI statement said, the first explosion detonated about a block away, spreading fear and confusion through the crowd. But Tsarnaev — unlike nearly everyone around him — looked calm and quickly walked away, the FBI said.
Just 10 seconds or so later, the second blast occurred where he had left the knapsack, the FBI said. The FBI did not make it clear whether authorities believe he used his cellphone to detonate one or both of the bombs, or if he was talking to someone.
The court papers also said one of the Tsarnaev brothers told a carjacking victim: “Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that.”
The younger Tsarnaev will probably face additional state charges in the shooting death of an MIT police officer.
While some politicians have suggested that Tsarnaev should be tried as an enemy combatant before a military tribunal, he is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and American citizens cannot be tried by military tribunals, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.