Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Is Walking, Talking, and Claiming He's Innocent

The surviving Boston bombing suspect has recovered enough to move about and speak freely, enough so that he's calling his mother to proclaim his total innocence.

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The surviving Boston bombing suspect — the one who was captured near his boat-side confession, who entered the hospital in critical condition only to speak a single word at his bedside hearing, then offered early excuses in the ongoing investigation before being transferred to a prison hospital — has recovered enough to move about and speak freely, enough so that he's calling his mother to proclaim his and his brother's total innocence. The Associated Press interviewed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, on Thursday afternoon, and she recalled a recent conversation with her son: "He didn't hold back his emotions either, as if he were screaming to the whole world: What is this? What's happening?" The younger Tsarnaev, it appears, is very confused: "I could just feel that he was being driven crazy by the unfairness that happened to us, that they killed our innocent Tamerlan," said the mother, who has been as frequently reliable of a source for media check-ins on the secret investigation as she has been an unreliable parent and arbiter of honesty. She has maintained that both of her sons are innocent since Dzhokhar's identification and subsequent capture.

The game of telephone with the press aside, word Dzhokhar's amnesic confusion doesn't exactly fit into previous reports regarding his knowledge about the case. Late last month Tsarnaev had enough wits about him to stop talking about the bombing after he was read his Miranda rights. "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, a U.S. law enforcement source and four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation," the AP reported at the time. Regardless of guilt or innocence, that clearly signals that the 19-year-old terrorism suspect knew the stakes of his interrogation — and the careful wording to come.

Earlier this month, multiple sources reported that Tsarnaev scrawled a confession on the interior of the boat in which investigators found him. CBS's John Miller reported that the note would be used in court against Tsarnaev, who faces charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and maliciously destroying property resulting in death:

The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution for what the U.S. did to Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the way Muslims have been in the U.S.-driven wars. When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims, the note added.

Sources told CNN and NBC News that these were similar to sentiments Tsarnaev expressed in his bedside interrogation in a Boston hospital before attorneys read his rights.

Of course, Tsarnaev's mental state and his alleged claims of innocence matter because he could face the death penalty for the WMD charge. His original pre-trial date was actually set for today, but a judge has pushed back proceedings to July 2.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.