Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces the charges of using a weapon of mass destruction in connection with the blasts last week during the Boston Marathon. The charges were read hours after Tsarnaev had his initial court appearance from his hospital bed.
The White House decided against treating Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant.
The case being built against the 19-year-old college student includes one count of using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property. The Justice Department released a statement indicating that the charges could carry the death penalty or life in prison.
“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 the statement. “We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Law enforcement sources say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arraigned at his hospital bed, which was first reported by ABC News affiliate WCVB.
Tsarnaev was awake and responding sporadically in writing to questions Sunday night. They are asking about any possible cell members and other unexploded bombs. There have been no additional details yet on his answers.
Tsarnaev is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition. The federal complaint states that he had wounds to the head, throat, legs and hand.
The newly filed criminal complaint lays out in far greater detail the moments leading up to the bombing attacks, and the evidence authorities amassed as they tracked the alleged killers.
The documents reveal, for instance, that the FBI searched Tsarnaev’s college dorm room and found what they believe were the white baseball cap and black jacket that the accused bomber could be seen wearing during the attack.