Boston bombing suspect to make first appearance in court

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (above), the shaggy-haired US university student charged with detonating bombs that killed three people at the Boston Marathon makes his first court appearance on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (above), the shaggy-haired US university student charged with detonating bombs that killed three people at the Boston Marathon makes his first court appearance on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BOSTON (AFP) - The shaggy-haired US university student charged with detonating bombs that killed three people at the Boston Marathon makes his first court appearance on Wednesday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will come face-to-face with people injured in two thunderous blasts carried out on April 15 with two rigged pressure cookers when he steps into the federal courthouse in Boston at 3:30pm (1930 GMT).

The 30-count indictment against him will be read out and he will have to enter a plea, said Christina Dilorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors.

The attacks stunned America with scenes of carnage and chaos at the finish line of one of the country's premier sporting events. Besides the fatalities, another 264 people were hurt. Some lost one or both legs.

Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old US national of Chechen origin, was captured four days later after a huge manhunt. He was hiding and bleeding in a boat in someone's backyard in a Boston suburb.

He is accused of plotting and carrying out the attack with his elder brother Tamerlan, who died in a shootout with police as they tried to escape the Boston area.

A police officer was shot dead as the Tsarnaevs tried to make their getaway.

The teenager had scrawled a rambling explanation of his motives for the Boston attacks on an interior wall of the boat.

"The US government is killing our innocent civilians," Tsarnaev wrote.

"I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished ... we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.

"Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but ... stop killing our innocent people and we will stop." Tsarnaev faces an indictment which includes 17 charges punishable by death or life imprisonment.