Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombing of the Boston Marathon, will be represented by three public defenders.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty. In that case, at age 19, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would be the youngest defendant in a federal death penalty case in modern times.
Should the case go to trial, Stephen Jones, former lead defense attorney for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, says he wouldn’t necessarily recommend requesting a change of venue for the trial.
“My experience in Mr. McVeigh’s case is that it made no difference in moving the case to Denver from Oklahoma,” said Jones on Jansing & Co Tuesday.
Jones also said that keeping the case in Massachusetts—a state that doesn’t authorize the death penalty—would work in the defense’s favor. The court can also move the case to another state, such as New Hampshire, Maine, or Rhode Island, in the same circuit. Jones says those states have expressed opposition to the death penalty in the past.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, are believed to have planted the two bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston marathon resulting in three deaths and leaving more than 200 people injured.
Friends say Dzhokhar was brainwashed by his big brother into committing the crime, a claim that Jones said could impact the defense.
“That is an option they will consider—much like the case of the DC sniper, where the older man received the death sentence but the younger man did not, although both were criminally implicated in the crime,” he said.