From dorm to prison cell: Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s new digs
By Julian Cummings and Catherine E. Shoichet
(CNN) — Less than two weeks after he partied with classmates in a college dorm, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev now lives in drastically different surroundings.
The 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect is locked inside a 10-by-10-foot cell with a steel door, a slot for food and an observation window, a prison spokesman said Sunday.
Tsarnaev is able to speak and has been interacting with staff at the Federal Medical Center Devens, spokesman John Colautti said.
Medical professionals at the prison medical facility, which currently houses 1,044 inmates, are making regular rounds to check on Tsarnaev, Colautti said, and Tsarnaev has spoken with staff there about managing his health.
The spokesman said he could not comment on whether Tsarnaev was speaking with investigators.
He referred questions on Tsarnaev’s medical condition to the FBI, saying the facility does not assign medical condition rankings like civilian hospitals.
On Friday, authorities said Tsarnaev had been transferred from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the prison facility, which is about 40 miles west of the city.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his alleged role in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 near the marathon’s finish line.
Tsarnaev was captured April 19 after a nearly 24-hour manhunt. His brother, Tamerlan, died after a gun battle with police.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand when he was captured, according to the criminal complaint accusing him in the marathon blasts.
Tsarnaev has been less talkative since authorities read him his Miranda rights three days after his capture. But the information the teenager gave investigators in two sessions of questioning has produced good leads, a U.S. law enforcement official said.
FBI: Search of dump tied to suspect ends
Since the pair of blasts turned celebratory cheers into screams of horror at the Boston Marathon’s finish line, investigators have kept working — interviewing people and searching for evidence, even when it meant sifting through trash — to find out why.
One of the most recent focuses of the probe was a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, adjacent to the town where Tsarnaev attended school at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Authorities finished combing the dump for clues that may shed light on the bloody attack on Friday, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, who wouldn’t say whether they found anything.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation had said investigators were looking for Tsarnaev’s laptop computer.
Tsarnaev led authorities to look there, the source said, and others who may have knowledge of the computer’s whereabouts or may have played a role in disposing of it also provided leads that prompted the search.
Eimiller, the FBI spokeswoman, said the investigation remains open, with interviews and the search for evidence continuing.
Officials: 2011 wiretap reveals talk of jihad
In the past few days, Russian authorities turned over an intercepted conversation from 2011 between one of the Tsarnaev brothers in the United States and their mother in Dagestan, Russia, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation.
The wiretapped communication discussed jihad, but the conversation was vague, according to two U.S. officials. It’s unclear why the Russians were eavesdropping on the mother or for how long.
One of the officials declined to say whether that wiretap information could have made a difference in ultimately uncovering a future attack on the United States.
Tom Fuentes, a CNN contributor and former FBI assistant director, said the FBI would have found that information helpful when the Russians asked U.S. investigators to look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev for a possible shift toward increasing Islamic extremism in 2011.
Family in Russia
The brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, said Friday that she and her husband had left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia.
Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, had said he’d planned to travel to the United States, but that trip has been delayed indefinitely for health reasons.
The mother has said she will not return to the United States, where she is wanted on felony charges of shoplifting and destruction of property.
The family lived in Massachusetts before Zubeidat Tsarnaev jumped bail after her arrest on the charges in 2012. The parents moved to Dagestan, a semiautonomous republic in southern Russia that year.
Zubeidat Tsarnaev has denied the reality of the bombing. She believes it was fake. She said she has seen a video pushing the wild idea, and that there was no blood, that paint was used instead.
Botched hijacking thwarts plans to head to New York
Three days after the marathon attack, and hours after authorities released images of the two suspects, they spontaneously decided to go to New York’s Times Square to blow up their six remaining explosives, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators.
But a botched carjacking spoiled the impromptu road trip, said Tsarnaev, whose account was outlined by New York’s police commissioner.
Before forcing their way into a vehicle the night of April 18, the brothers fatally shot a campus police officer at MIT, police said.
The vehicle they subsequently hijacked, a Mercedes sport utility vehicle, ran low on fuel, and they stopped at a service station, where the vehicle’s owner escaped. Shortly thereafter, police picked up the trail of the SUV and pursued it. Authorities say the men threw bombs out the vehicle’s window at them. The gun battle and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death followed.
CNN’s Tim Lister, Ben Brumfield, Ashleigh Banfield, Susan Candiotti, Paula Newton, Drew Griffin, Dave Alsup, Carol Cratty, Brian Todd and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.