Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers may try to save him from the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombing by arguing he fell under the murderous influence of his older brother, legal experts say.
The outlines of a possible defense came into focus this week when it was learned that Tsarnaev’s attorneys are trying to get access to investigative records implicating the now-dead brother in a grisly triple slaying committed in 2011.
In court papers Monday, federal prosecutors acknowledged publicly for the first time that a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev told investigators that Tamerlan participated in the unsolved killings of three Jewish men.
The younger Tsarnaev’s lawyers argued in court papers that any evidence of Tamerlan’s involvement is “mitigating information” that is critical as they prepare Dzhokhar’s defense. They asked a judge to force prosecutors to turn over the records.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, in the twin bombings April 15 that killed three people and injured more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a gunbattle with police days later.