A criminal complaint against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, has been filed in federal court. In charging Tsarnaev with using a "weapon of mass destruction," he would not be tried before a military tribunal as an "enemy combatant."
If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty, a Justice Department news statement said. The complaint said he had his initial court appearance Monday from his hospital room, where he is currently being treated for wounds sustained before his capture on Friday.
The Justice Department unsealed the attached criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. It said he is "specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device or IED) against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death." The bombings resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to more than 200, the department's news release said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that under U.S. law, American citizens such as Tsarnaev cannot be tried by before military commissions.
"[Tsarnaev] will not be treated as an enemy combatant," Carney said at a White House news briefing. "We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions."