Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged Monday with "use of a weapon of mass destruction" and "malicious destruction of property resulting in death" in connection with the April 15 bomb attacks.
The criminal complaint against the surviving bombing suspect is dated April 21. Tsarnaev was brought before a magistrate Monday in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He will be represented by the federal public defenders office, according to the Boston Globe and other publications.
"The statutory charges authorize a penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years," the FBI said in a Monday press release. "Tsarnaev had his initial court appearance today from his hospital room."
The 19-year-old suspected terrorist cannot speak because of a gunshot wound to the neck, but CBS News reports he is awake and answering questions in writing.
The Justice Department says Tsarnaev would not be read his Miranda rights before questioning. The short Miranda rights warning informs arrested individuals that they have the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. The government said investigators would invoke a "public safety exception." The suspect still retains these rights and cannot be tortured into confessing, but the exception is evidently being invoked to hasten the possible discovery of unexploded devices in the city.
The weapon of mass destruction charge facing Tsarnaev - a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chechen origin - is specified in 18 U.S.C. 2332a. John Mueller, an expert in foreign and defense policy at Ohio State University, explained to U.S. News in March that the very broad definition in this section of U.S. law covers many conventional weapons, and not just chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Earlier on Monday ABC News reported that Dzhokhar's older brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, called his mother as the Thursday evening gunfight with police erupted.