BOSTON — Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings got little satisfaction from surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s first public appearance since the deadly attacks. “Not guilty,” was all he said, over and over.
The blase-looking 19-year-old, his arm in a cast and his face swollen, entered his pleas Wednesday during a seven-minute arraignment in federal court.
Bombing victims showed little reaction in the courtroom after a federal marshal warned them against any outbursts, but some made their views known afterward — as did a group of chanting Tsarnaev supporters.
“I thought that maybe he would come with a different attitude or maybe look a little different, maybe look like he cared a little bit. But he didn’t show me that,” said Peter Brown, whose two nephews each lost their right legs in the explosions.
Tsarnaev gave a small, lopsided smile to his two sisters upon arriving in the courtroom. He appeared to have a jaw injury and there was swelling around his left eye and cheek.
Leaning into the microphone, he told a federal judge, “Not guilty,” in his Russian accent. Then he was led away in handcuffs, making a kissing gesture toward his sisters with his lips. One sobbed loudly, resting her head on a woman seated next to her.
The proceedings took place in a heavily guarded courtroom packed not only with victims and their families but with police officers, the public and the media.
Authorities say Tsarnaev orchestrated the bombing along with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a gunbattle with police several days after the attack. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested on April 19, hiding in a bloodstained boat in a suburban backyard after a manhunt that paralyzed much of the Boston area.