Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill three during the Boston Marathon. If guilty, the accused terrorist could face the death penalty.
Law enforcement officials also released the full criminal complaint against Tsarnaev. Here are six of the most interesting things we learned from our first read of the legal document:
6. What About the MIT Officer?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrol Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., was shot to death, April 18, 2013, on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass. (Middlesex District Attorney's Office/AP).
Law enforcement officials believe that before the Tsarnaev brothers led police on a wild car chase on April 18, 2013, they shot and killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrol Officer Sean Collier.
However, none of this is in the affidavit. It’s unclear why prosecutors chose to omit from the complaint this chapter in the Boston terror story.
5. Injury Count Higher Than Expected?
Authorities estimate that the number of those injure din Monday's attack has surpassed 200, higher than all earlier estimates, according to the criminal complaint against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
4) Building a Case
Following the capture of Dzhokhar on Friday, police say they found a jacket and hat during a search of his room that match the ones he wore at the Boston Marathon.
3. A Confession
Dzhokhar and his now-deceased brother Tamerlane, 26, allegedly hijacked a car on April, 18, according to the affidavit. This is what the victim of the hijacking told law enforcement officials after being asked about the ordeal [emphasis added]:
The victim states that while he was sitting in his car on a road in Cambridge, a man approached and tapped on his passenger-side window. When the victim rolled down the window, the man reached in, opened the door, and entered the victim’s vehicle. The man pointed a firearm at the victim and stated, “Did you hear about the Boston explosion?” and “I did that.” The man removed the magazine from his gun and showed the victim that it had a bullet in, and then re-inserted the magazine. The man then stated, “I am serious.”
2. What the Hijacking Victim Went Through
The hijacking victim, according to the complaint, had quite an episode with the brothers that Thursday night:
One of the men compelled the victim to hand over his ATM card and password. They then drove to an ATM machine and attempted to withdraw money from the victim’s account. The two men and the victim then drove to a gas station/convenience store … the two men got out of the car, at which point the victim managed to escape.
1) Did the Suspected Bombers Trigger the Explosions Using Cell Phones?
Moments before the first explosion, “Bomber Two” (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) was captured on security cameras fidgeting with his phone, according to the affidavit:
… video shows that Bomber Two remained in the same spot for approximately four minutes, occasionally looking at his cell phone and once appearing to take a picture with it. At some point he appears to look at his phone, which is held at approximately waist level, and may be manipulating the phone. Approximately 30 seconds before the first explosion, he lifts his phone to his ear as if he is speaking on his cell phone, and keeps it there for approximately 18 seconds. A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion. Virtually every head turns to the east (towards the finish line) and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment.
Were the bombs triggered by cell phones or was Bomber Two simply talking to a friend or an associate? If the surviving brother is found guilty, and it turns out cell phones were used to trigger the explosions, will this set a precedent for authorities to kill cell service during the fog of future attacks?
Here’s the full criminal complaint:
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.