Dzhokhar Tsarnaeve appeared in court for the first time since the Boston Marathon Bombing and plead not guilty to all charges being levied against him.
Public defender Judy Clarke tired to enter a single “not guilty” plea, but Judge Marianne Bowler said that all 30 of the charges would be read aloud and Tsarnaev would have to speak for himself to enter his plea.
The BBC notes that Tsarnaev is being charged on 30 counts relating to the incident in Boston earlier this year that killed three people including an 8-year-old boy. Tsarnaev is also being accused of killing a fourth person, a police officer, during the manhunt that ended with his arrest.
All 30 of the charges could land Tsarnaev in prison for life. Prosecutors have the option to press for the death penalty on 17 of the charges.
Mildred Valverde, who was injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing, said that she didn’t want prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
Valverde said: “I think death is too good for him. He should be made to suffer in jail for the rest of his life”.
USA Today notes that Tsarnaev had several supporters in the crowd. Lacey Buckley, who runs the “Justice for Tamerlan, Rest in Peace” page on Facebook, said that she didn’t believe that there was enough evidence to convict Tsarnaev.
Buckley said: “So far, I haven’t seen the evidence… Why is he charged? Just because a couple of guys had backpacks… He’s not going to get a fair trial. This city has already convicted him.”
Family and former classmates were also in the courtroom to show their support. Some, however, didn’t see the person that they used to know at the front of the room.
One student said: “He never had an accent before, yet there he sounded middle-eastern… And the way he kept moving in his seat. It seemed like a different guy. It seemed like someone else was in his body.”
A trial date has not been set yet. A status conference is currently scheduled for September 23.