Yesterday Judge Marianne B. Bowler, a federal judge for the District of Massachusetts, informed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of the crimes he is being charged with: use of weapons of mass destruction resulting in death in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2332a(a), and malicious destruction of property resulting in death in violation of 18 U.S.C. 844(i). A transcript of the initial appearance is available here from CNN.
18 U.S.C. 2332a(a) provides in relevant part:
A person who, without lawful authority, uses, threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction— (1)against a national of the United States while such national is outside of the United States; (2)against any person or property within the United States, and (A)the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce is used in furtherance of the offense; (B)such property is used in interstate or foreign commerce or in an activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce; (C)any perpetrator travels in or causes another to travel in interstate or foreign commerce in furtherance of the offense; or (D)the offense, or the results of the offense, affect interstate or foreign commerce, or, in the case of a threat, attempt, or conspiracy, would have affected interstate or foreign commerce; (3)against any property that is owned, leased or used by the United States or by any department or agency of the United States, whether the property is within or outside of the United States; or (4)against any property within the United States that is owned, leased, or used by a foreign government,shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.A "weapon of mass destruction" is defined as "any destructive device as defined in Section 921 of this title." 18 U.S.C. 921 defines a "destructive device" as including "any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb."
The malicious destruction of property charge is based upon 18 U.S.C. 844(i), which provides:
Whoever maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in interstate or foreign commerce or in any activity affecting interstate or foreign commerce shall be imprisoned for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, fined under this title, or both; and if personal injury results to any person, including any public safety officer performing duties as a direct or proximate result of conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be imprisoned for not less than 7 years and not more than 40 years, fined under this title, or both; and if death results to any person, including any public safety officer performing duties as a direct or proximate result of conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall also be subject to imprisonment for any term of years, or to the death penalty or to life imprisonment.Both charges carry the death penalty.
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