Supporter of Boston Marathon bomb suspect: "Stop killing innocent people"

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had not been out in public for 17 months before he appeared at a pre-trial hearing Thursday.

By Frances Burns

BOSTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in open court Thursday for the first time in more than a year.

The hearing ended with a woman calling out a message of support for Tsarnaev and saying the U.S. justice system should "stop killing innocent boys." Elena Teyer's son-in-law, Ibragim Todashev, was shot and killed by an FBI agent during questioning in his Florida home, after the agent said Todashev attacked him.


"Dzhokhar, we know you're innocent," Teyer said in Russian. "There are so many of us supporting you here. We pray for you. Be strong, son."

As she was escorted from the courtroom, Teyer shouted in English, "Stop killing innocent people. Stop killing innocent boys."

Tsarnaev, 21, who could face the death penalty if he is convicted, and his older brother, Tamerlan, allegedly set off two bombs at the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people and wounding scores more. The brothers also allegedly shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while they were on the run.

After the hearing, Teyer said she was in touch with Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who has left the United States.


"She's a very nice woman. Right now she's only asking all of us to pray. She trusts God. She says everything's in God's hands right now," Teyer said. "It's a very hard feeling for a mother when you can't help your own child. You feel hopeless."

Tamerlan died in a confrontation with police a few days after the bombing, and Dzhokhar was found hours later hiding under a boat in a Watertown yard.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. denied a motion by Tsarnaev's lawyers to move the trial away from Boston.

Tsarnaev is scheduled to go on trial in January. Jury selection alone could take weeks.

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