The messages that accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev wrote on the inside walls of the boat he hid in during
a police manhunt four days after the attack were intended to
explain his actions should he die, his lawyers argued.
The accused bomber, who faces the possibility of execution if
convicted on charges tied to the April 15 attack that killed
three people and injured 264, did not intend to incite
further violence with messages including "the US government
is killing our innocent civilians" and "I can't stand to see
such evil go unpunished," defence attorneys said in court
"On their face, Mr Tsarnaev's alleged words simply state the
motive for his actions, a declaration in anticipation of his
own death. There is no express call for others to take up
arms," the 20-year-old defendant's lawyers said.
Prosecutors have argued that Tsarnaev poses both a safety
risk to prison officials and that his words could inspire
others to plan attacks similar to the Boston Marathon
incident, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his other brother,
Tamerlan, planted a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at
the crowded finish line.
"While the government may view these words as an implied
'clarion call' to other would-be radicals ... it was law
enforcement that originally leaked existence of the alleged
boat writings to the press and it is the government that
continues to broadcast the 'clarion' by repeating,
emphasizing, and attributing inspirational significance to
these words," the filing said.
A June filing by prosecutors, which charged Tsarnaev with the
April 15 bombing and the murder of a university police
officer three days later, provided detail on the messages the
ethnic Chechen, who had lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
wrote as he hid in a boat dry-docked in Watertown,
The notes also included "we Muslims are one body, you hurt
one you hurt us all" and "stop killing our innocent people
and we will stop."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a late night gun battle with
police on April 18, as the two brothers were preparing to
flee the city. Dzhokhar escaped that fight and hid in the
boat in Watertown, prompting a day-long lockdown of most of
the Boston area.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges.