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Boston bombings trial to start March 4: court official

26 february 2015, 14:27
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. ©Reuters
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. ©Reuters

 The trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will start with opening statements on March 4, an official said Wednesday following two months of jury selection delayed by snowstorms, AFP reports.

Judge George O'Toole initially expected the trial to begin January 26 but the timetable slipped owing to severe winter weather in the northeastern US city and because the process taking longer than expected.

Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty if convicted over the April 15, 2013 attacks that killed three people and wounded 264 -- the worst such incident in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A court official said a sufficient number of qualified jurors had been identified and that the final stage of jury empanelment would take place next Tuesday.

"At this point it is anticipated that formal seating of the jury and opening statements will commence on Wednesday, March 4," the official said.

Defense lawyers have made multiple attempts to move the trial, arguing their client will not be treated fairly in a city so adversely affected by the attacks.

Prosecutors insist that pre-trial publicity is no hindrance to fairness.

The marathon attacks plunged Boston into mourning and revived fears of terrorism in the United States more than a decade after the 9/11 Al-Qaeda hijackings.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges.

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