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Boston Marathon Terror Attack

marathon-bombTwo explosions occurred near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday about four hours after the start of the race. Three people were killed and more than 250 were injured.

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As thousands gathered to mark the anniversary of a horror that shook the city, survivors and government leaders shared a unified message Tuesday: Boston is strong.

“We would never wish the devastation and pain we have experienced on any of you,” said Patrick Downes, who was among the many injured in the twin bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon. “However, we do wish that all of you, at some point in your lives, feel as loved as we have felt this last year. It has been the most humbling experience of our lives. We hope you feel all the emotion we feel when we say ‘thank you.’”

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Many shops, restaurants and bars along Boston’s Boylston Street have reopened since two bombings at the marathon’s finish line on April 15 killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Makeshift memorials for those killed and injured draw many respectful curious. (Credit: Frank Bivona/CNN)

Downes was a newlywed at the time of the attack. He and his wife, Jessica Kensky, each lost a leg.

Before the crowd gathered Tuesday at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, he spoke of the three people killed in the blasts, and a university police officer killed days later amid efforts to catch the suspects. He called them “guardian angels.”

“Let’s show them they live on in our bonds of family, friendship and community and in the infectious spirit we will feel on the third Monday in April for years to come.” That’s the date of the marathon.

After a string of speakers, Vice President Joe Biden began his remarks by saying, “I’ve never witnessed a tribute like I heard today.” To the survivors, he said, “my God, you have survived and you have soared. You are truly inspiring. I’ve never heard anything so beautiful as what all of you just said.”

“So much has been taken from you but you never, never have given up,” he said.

“You have become the face of America’s resolve for the whole world to see,” Biden said, adding that people all around the world know the pride, courage, and resolve of Bostonians. “That’s why the twisted, cowardly terrorists who acted here and in other places do what they do. They try to instill fear so that we will jettison what we value the most and what the world most values about us: an open society, our system of justice, our freedom of religion; our access to opportunity, the free flow of information and ideas.”

The terrorists “wanted to make America afraid so that maybe, maybe, we’d begin to change our ways. That’s the objective — the very soul of who we are. They figured if they instill enough fear, we will change. And it infuriates them that we refuse to bend, refuse to change, refuse to yield to fear.

“You are Boston strong. But America is strong… That’s what makes us so proud of this city and this state. What makes me so proud to be an American is that we have never, ever yielded to fear. Never.”

At the marathon, “the whole world witnessed ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things” to help each other, the vice president said.

“America will never, ever, ever stand down,” he said. “We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome and we own the finish line.”

‘Boston strong’

“Next week, we will run again,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association. “But on this day, in this place, in remembrance and resolve, we gather as citizens of Boston, Boston strong.”

One year ago, “the very fabric of this community was tested to its core,” he said, but the city “inspired.”

“You are strong at this broken place,” former Mayor Tom Menino told the crowd, adding, “the heartbeat of Boston is a mighty force.”

To those who lost loved ones and to the many who were wounded, Menino said, “whatever you have to do to recover and carry on, know that the people of Boston and I will be right there by your side.” Menino was mayor at the time of the attack.

On April 15, 2013, the Patriots’ Day bombings killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounded at least 264 others. The city then underwent days of fear as the two identified suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers, were on the run. Police say they killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in the process, and then Tamerlan Tsarnaev was run over by his younger brother, Dzhokhar, as they battled police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts and is scheduled to go on trial in November.

Obama: Boston will show it ‘chooses to run again’

“A year ago, tragedy struck at the 117th Boston Marathon,” President Obama said in a written statement Tuesday. “Four innocent people were killed that week, and hundreds more were wounded. Today, we remember Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier. And we send our thoughts and prayers to those still struggling to recover…

“One year later, we also stand in awe of the men and women who continue to inspire us — learning to stand, walk, dance and run again. With each new step our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city. And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday — Patriot’s Day — hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again.”

David Yepez, a teen who was wounded in the attack, followed Downes at Tuesday’s ceremony. He hailed the first responders, doctors and others who helped in the wake of the bombings. “Thank you for your love, compassion and generosity,” Yepez said. “You have touched our hearts in a way that, many times, our gratitude could only be expressed through our tears of joy.”

Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost her left foot in the attack, told the crowd, “If anyone is wondering what they can do, what you can do, I would answer: Look around. People in your community need your support. They need your patience and they need your time… Let April 15 be a day when we all work together to make this world a better place.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said, “We share the same fears, the same hopes, the same community,” he said. “We are, in the end, one community.”

He added that he hopes “as we remember the dead and encourage the injured, that we remember community…. The power of love itself — that’s what community is.”

A series of musical performances helped set a solemn but hopeful tone for the ceremony. The world-renowned Boston Pops orchestra performed, with singer Renese King singing both “America the Beautiful” and “For Good,” a song from the musical “Wicked.” The Boston Children’s Chorus performed “Up to the Mountain.”

Moment of silence

After the ceremony, at 2:49 p.m. ET, the city will hold a moment of silence, followed by church bells tolling and a flag-raising ceremony.

A year after the bombings, families of the victims are struggling to come to terms with the loss.

“She had that special, I don’t know what it is, that special thing about her,” said Lillian Campbell, grandmother of bombing victim Krystle Campbell, 29. “And you felt happy around her because she was always laughing and bubbly. I loved her.”

Some victims injured in the attack are showing their perseverance by planning to take part in this year’s marathon, scheduled for Monday — even victims who suffered severe injuries.

“Last year, I was on the ground at the finish line. This year, I’ll be running across it,” said Kevin White. “It kind of proves to people that evil isn’t going to win.” White, then 34, had shrapnel through his legs a year ago. His 71-year-old father, Bill, lost a leg.

Authorities have announced extensive security plans for this year’s marathon, which is expected to bring in $176 million for the Boston area’s economy.

Brothers Paul and J.P. Norden each lost a leg in the attack last year. On Tuesday, they began a trek: walking the entire 26.2-mile marathon route, along with family and good friends. “I feel so blessed,” their mother, Liz, said in a Facebook post, adding that she couldn’t be prouder.

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“This guy is evil,” said Sgt. Sean Murphy. “This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

The backlash over Rolling Stone’s cover photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev led to the release of new photos of his capture Thursday, images a police photographer said show “the real Boston bomber.”

In contrast to the tousle-haired, placid-looking 19-year-old on the front of the magazine, the new pictures show Tsarnaev emerging from the boat where he was cornered — his face smeared with blood, his skin ashen in the laser glow from snipers’ gun sights.

In one, he pulls up his shirt, apparently showing he has no weapon underneath; in another, he slumps across the deck of the trailered boat, his bloodied arm hanging down

The pictures were taken by Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy and published online by Boston Magazine on Thursday afternoon.

Click here to read the full story at CNN.com.

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faced more than two dozen survivors of that attack Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty to killing four people and wounding more than 200.

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is charged with 30 counts stemming from the April 15 attack.

Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the April 15 attack, when a pair of bombs went off near the finish line of the packed course. Three people died in the blasts, including an 8-year-old boy, while a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed three days later at the start of the dramatic chase that led to Tsarnaev’s capture.

MIT police lined up outside the courthouse as the hearing neared its end Wednesday afternoon in a show of solidarity with their fallen comrade, Sean Collier. Inside, about 30 survivors of the attack watched as Tsarnaev appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

It was the first time he had been seen in public since his arrest. The 19-year-old was dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, his hair long and shaggy, his left arm in a cast. He was wounded in the pursuit — during which his brother, Tamerlan, was killed — and he appeared to have an injury to the left side of his face.

Click here to read the full story on CNN.com.

BOSTON, Mass. — Boston Marathon bombing victims were collateral damage in a strike meant as payback for U.S. wars in Muslim lands, the surviving suspect wrote in a message scribbled on the boat where he was found hiding, a law enforcement source told CNN Thursday.

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pictured on far right

In the message, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also proclaimed that an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all and said he would not miss older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev — who died after a firefight with police three days after the bombing — because he would soon be joining him, according to the source.

The writing on the inside of the boat dovetails with what Dzhokhar, 19, told investigators questioning him in a Boston hospital room shortly after his capture, the source said.

CNN has previously cited U.S. officials in reporting that Dzhokhar said U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq were motivating factors behind the April 15 attack, which killed three people and wounded 275.

Click here to read the full story on CNN.com.

marathon-bombBOSTON (KTLA) — Thirteen deputy fire chiefs have reportedly signed a letter of “no confidence” in Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira’s handling of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The exact content of the letter has not been made public, but was sent to the mayor’s office in April, according to CNN.

However, the Boston Herald reported the letter blasted Abraira as a “ghost fire chief” who “never announced his arrival on the radio or assumed any command authority” at the April 15 bombings.

According to the Herald, the letter also stated, “At a time when the City of Boston needed every first responder to take decisive action, Chief Abraira failed to get involved in operational decision-making or show any leadership.”

There was no response Tuesday from the Boston Mayor’s office.

The twin bombings killed 3 and left another 260 wounded.

TORRANCE, Calif. (KTLA) — A Redondo Beach man critically injured in the Boston bombings is still hospitalized, but is well on his way to making a full recovery.

John Odom was cheering on his daughter, who was running in the marathon, when the first explosion went off.

He was standing just 20 feet from the blast.

Odom suffered major injuries to both of his legs, including a severed artery in one leg.

Nicol said Odom was just weeks away from retiring and was looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.

For updates on John’s condition, check here.

To donate to his recovery fund, log onto www.gofundme.com.

tamerlanBOSTON, Mass (KTLA) — Suspected marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso, according to his death certificate.

Details contained in the death certificate were released Friday by the owner of a funeral home handing arraignments for the 26-year-old.

Tamerlan died during a gunfight with authorities a few days after the deadly bombings.

His uncle Ruslan Tsarni — who initially said his nephews brought shame on the family and all Chechens — claimed Tamerlan’s body, according to a family spokeswoman.

Funeral home owner Peter Stefan said his business is familiar with Muslim services.

And, despite the threat of protests, Stefan said he believes everyone deserves a dignified burial service.

However, finding a final resting place for the suspected terrorist may be a more difficult task.

Stefan, told Reuters he was having trouble finding a cemetery willing to accept Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body.

Stefan said he will contact the government for help if he cannot find a suitable grave-site.

boston-brothers-2BOSTON, Mass. (CNN) — It could have been July Fourth. Live on television.

The brothers believed responsible for the bloody Boston Marathon bombings originally planned a suicide attack on the city’s massive Independence Day celebration, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators, a U.S. law enforcement official regularly briefed on the investigation told CNN.

The Fourth of July party draws about 500,000 people and is televised nationally on CBS.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother, Tamerlan, chose the Boston Marathon only a day or two before the event, according to the official.

They changed their plans because their bombs were ready sooner than they expected, the official said.

Those bombs were built in the small apartment that suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev shared with his wife and child, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators, according to that law enforcement official.

Fashioned out of pressure cookers that detonated near the finish line on April 15, the bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

Authorities say they believe the brothers later killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died four days after the explosions after a firefight with police. Dzhokhar eluded capture until later April 19 when was found hiding in under a boat tarp in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home.

He has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and faces the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities expect to file a death certificate Friday, a day after Tamerlan’s extended family claimed his body.

A black hearse believed carrying the body drove away with it, according to CNN affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

The vehicle was met by protesters at a funeral home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, The Sun Chronicle newspaper reported. T

he body was transported to another location hours later, the paper reported, citing a funeral home spokesman.

On Friday, the Worcester, Massachusetts, mayor’s office said Tsarnaev’s funeral service would be held in that city. It was unclear where he will be buried.

Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni — who has said his nephews had brought shame on the family and all Chechens — claimed his body, according to a family spokeswoman.

The family plans an independent autopsy before burying the body in a Massachusetts cemetery, spokeswoman Heda Saratova said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who suffered gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hands, is being held at a federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Devens, Massachusetts.

Three of his friends have also been charged in connection to the bombing.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev were charged Wednesday with conspiring to discard potentially incriminating items from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room.

Robel Phillipos was charged with making false statements to investigators.

The FBI is examining Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s laptop, two federal law enforcement officials told CNN.

On Friday, FBI agents, state police and local authorities searched areas in and around Dartmouth, Massachusetts, as part of the bombing investigation, the FBI said in a statement.

The agency didn’t say what investigators were looking for. The searches don’t involve residences but instead focus on public areas, a law enforcement source told CNN on Friday.

The investigators were acting on tips, the source said, declining to specify what those were.

Authorities have said they believe the brothers acted alone but are investigating whether they could have learned from or been aided by terror groups, including groups overseas.

Of particular interest has been Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s 2012 trip to the semiautonomous Russian republic of Dagestan, home to numerous Islamic militant groups that have warred against Moscow’s rule.

Russian authorities asked U.S. officials to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev some months before the trip, saying they believed he was becoming increasingly involved with radical Islam.

The FBI investigated but found no evidence of extremist activity and closed the case.

U.S. officials learned after the bombings that Russian officials had intercepted a 2011 phone call between the suspect’s mother, living in Dagestan, and one of her sons in which they reportedly had a vague conversation about jihad.

(CNN) — A laptop, some empty fireworks and a jar of Vaseline landed three friends of Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in jail Wednesday, charged with trying to throw investigators off their buddy’s trail.

Those are the items federal prosecutors say Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos took from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in the hours after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, the suspects in the marathon bombings.

boston-friendsAccording to FBI affidavits, they quickly recognized their friend from the pictures.

When Kadyrbayev texted his friend to tell him “he looked like the suspect on television,” Tsarnaev texted back “lol” and added, “come to my room and take whatever you want,” the affidavit states.

Phillipos, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev went to the room, where Kadyrbayev noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been “opened and emptied of powder,” according to the affidavit.

“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” the affidavit states.

All three are accused of removing items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the April 15 bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260.

According to the affidavit, they left with the backpack, the Vaseline — which Tazhayakov believed could be used to make bombs — and Tsarnaev’s laptop.

By the time they got back to the apartment in New Bedford that Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev shared, the Tsarnaev brothers had been named as bomb suspects, and the three friends “started to freak out,” Phillipos recounted after what the affidavit stated had been four previous interviews.

“According to Kadyrbayev, they collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble,” the affidavit states.

Investigators found the pack, fireworks and Vaseline in a landfill last week after a two-day search. The complaint doesn’t state what happened to the laptop.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, were already in federal custody on immigration charges.

They’re charged with obstruction of justice, while Phillipos, a U.S. citizen, is charged with lying to federal agents probing the bombing.

Probe stretches from Boston to Russia

Wednesday’s developments come after more than two weeks of intensive investigation that has stretched from Boston to the restive Russian republic of Dagestan, where the Tsarnaev brothers’ parents now live.

Federal officials say investigators remain very interested in talking with Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, about what she may have known about her husband’s travel and associations, as well as about any encounters she may have had with the two suspects in the aftermath of the attack.

Russell told investigators that she spoke to her husband after his picture appeared on national television as a suspect, two sources familiar with the investigation told CNN on Wednesday. T

he nature of the conversation remains under investigation, but the sources said there was some concern that Russell spoke with her husband but did not call authorities who were still seeking to identify the men in the photos.

Russell’s lawyers had no immediate comment on that report.

On Tuesday, attorney Amato DeLuca said Russell “will continue to meet with law enforcement, as she has done for many hours over the past week, and provide as much assistance to the investigation as she can.”

Officials say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators his brother was the mastermind of the attack.

Investigators are looking into whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev was influenced toward radical Islam during a six-month visit in 2012 to Dagestan, a region where Russian forces are battling jihadist guerrillas.

The elder Tsarnaev’s body remained unclaimed in a state medical examiner’s morgue Wednesday. His wife wants his family to claim the body, DeLuca said Tuesday.

Lawyers say Dzhokhar’s friends cooperated

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends made their first appearance before a judge Wednesday afternoon, when they were read the charges against them and informed of their rights.

All three started at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in 2011, along with Tsarnaev.

Only Tazhayakov is still enrolled, and he’s been suspended “pending the outcome of the case,” university spokesman Rob Lamontagne said.

They waived bail requests until a later court date. At one point, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler admonished Phillipos, “I suggest you pay attention to me, rather than looking down.”

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev appear in a photograph with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev taken in New York’s Times Square during an earlier visit.

They were taken into custody last month on charges that they had violated the terms of their student visas, Kadyrbayev attorney Stahl said last week.

All three were questioned at length on April 19, when the manhunt for Tsarnaev was in full swing.

Tsarnaev’s brother Tamerlan had been killed in a gun battle with police early that morning, while Tsarnaev was captured alive but badly wounded that night.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being treated for gunshot wounds at a federal Bureau of Prisons medical center in Devens, Massachusetts.

About a month before the marathon attack, Tsarnaev had told Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov “that he knew how to make a bomb,” according to an FBI affidavit recounting the charges. Kadyrbayev told investigators that Tsarnaev “appeared to have given himself a short haircut” two days after the bombings.

Kadyrbayev’s lawyer Robert Stahl said his client “did not have anything to do” with the bombing and disputed charges that he tried to obstruct the investigation.

And Harlan Protass, who represents Tazhayakov, said his client “has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case.”

On Wednesday, he said Kadyrbayev was accused of a “technical violation” of a student visa “for not regularly attending classes.”

Federal law enforcement sources said at the time that the Kazakh students were being detained “in an abundance of caution” because authorities wanted detailed information on the Tsarnaevs’ movements in the weeks and days before the attack.

Phillipos faces up to eight years in prison if convicted, along with a $250,000 fine; the charges against Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov carry sentences of up to five years and $250,000 in fines.

Alan Dershowitz, a prominent defense attorney and Harvard law professor, called the obstruction charge “weak,” suggesting it was meant to pressure the suspects into providing more information on Tsarnaev.

“If that’s the best the feds have now, then they’re just squeezing,” Dershowitz told CNN. “It doesn’t sound like they have very much new here.”

One of the reasons Kadyrbayev drew investigators’ attention was because of changes to his Facebook page, a source briefed on the Boston probe said.

Kadyrbayev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev changed their profile photos within 15 minutes of each other in the pre-dawn hours of April 19, while the Tsarnaevs were on the run, the source said.

Tsarnaev, who appears to have had access to a wireless device at that time, changed his to a black-and-white photo, while Kadyrbayev changed his photo to one of him wearing an Iron Man mask, the source said.

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