Tsarnaev defense team requests addition of death-penalty specialist

July 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM
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BOSTON, July 16 (UPI) -- Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants to add another death-penalty specialist to his defense team, court papers indicated.

In papers filed Monday, Tsarnaev's lawyers repeated an previous request to appoint David Bruck, a Virginia lawyer whose client list included Zayd Safarini, serving life for his role in the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan; and Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-Owhali, one of four men serving life for the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, the Boston Herald reported.

Already on Tsarnaev's team is Judy Clarke, who helped Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph get life sentences.

"If this case did not present 'exceptional circumstances' justifying appointment of an additional lawyer learned in the law applicable to capital cases ... no case would," Clarke wrote in the motion.

Tsarnaev, 19, pleaded not guilty in federal court last week to 30 charges, 17 of which carry the death penalty, arising from the twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15. Three people died and scores were injured.

His legal team tried to add Bruck in April, but a judge denied the request with a promise to review the decision after the indictment.

Prosecutors have not indicated whether they will pursue the death penalty. The Herald reported last week that U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz's office sent victims a questionnaire asking them for their thoughts on the death penalty, among other matters.

Tsarnaev's brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed when run over allegedly by Tsarnaev as he escaped a shootout with police following the bombings.

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