Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev projected calm and reassurance and told his mother that his wounds were healing in the first conversation he had with her since being arrested last month, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said to Bloomberg News in an exclusive interview.
“I couldn’t stop myself from crying,” Tsarnaeva told the media outlet in a phone interview from her home in Dagestan that was published Tuesday. “He said, ‘I am absolutely fine; my wounds are healing. Everything’s in God’s hands. Everything will be fine.”
Tsarnaeva said her 19-year-old son spoke in a hushed voice. The conversation lasted six minutes.
“Mentally, he is normal, but the child is shocked,” she said. “It was really hard to hear him and for him to hear me. The conversation was very quiet. It was my child; I know he is locked up like a dog, like an animal.”
Tsarnaev is facing two counts of terrorism-related charges for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, which killed three spectators and injured more than 250 others, including some who lost limbs in the attack. The 19-year-old former student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth may face the death penalty, although prosecutors have yet to say what punishment they will seek for Tsarnaev if he is convicted.
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Tsarnaev and his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, evaded authorities for three days after the bombings and then went on a crime rampage after the FBI publicly released videos and photos showing the then-unidentified suspects. The brothers were involved in a carjacking, killed a campus policeman and finally had a shootout with federal, state and local authorities in Watertown, Mass., on April 19. The elder Tsarnaev died in the shootout, and Dzhokhar escaped but was later found hiding in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown home. Authorities said he suffered injuries including a gunshot wound to the neck.
Dzhokhar is being detained at the Federal Medical Center Devens, about 40 miles west of Boston. The facility houses “male offenders requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care,” according to the prison’s website.
Three friends of Dzhokhar were charged in connection with the bombing, but not for any part in carrying out the attack. The friends, all students at UMass-Dartmouth, are facing charges of either obstruction of justice or making false statements to the FBI. Two of the friends allegedly hid evidence, including a laptop computer, related to the bombing. The items were later found at a nearby landfill.