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Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleads not guilty

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cropped FBI mugshot
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cropped FBI mugshot

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the chief suspect in the April 15th Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 200, has pled not guilty to 30 counts including using weapons of mass destruction, according to The Boston Globe. Tsarnaev gave his plea in an arraignment in a Boston federal court on Wednesday, in a room full of survivors and victims of the Boston attack, which prosecutors say took place when two pressure cookers filled with shrapnel exploded near the annual marathon's finish line.

Tsarnaev's first public appearance since being arrested Tsarnaev read aloud his plea of "not guilty" multiple times in court before Federal Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, according to the Associated Press. Today's arraignment marked his first public appearance since he was arrested on April 19 at the conclusion of a three-day manhunt that resulted in the death of both his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and an MIT police officer, Sean Collier. The courtroom where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arraigned was filled with survivors of the Marathon attack, as well as family members of victims, according to USA Today. Tsarnaev is being tried as a civilian and not as an enemy combatant.

In court, Tsarnaev showed up with unkempt hair, a swollen face, and a cast, the AP said in its report. "He appeared nonchalant, almost bored during the hearing," the report said. "He was let out of the courtroom, making a kissing motion with his lips toward his family as he left. His sister sobbed loudly."

His sister sobbed inside, chants rang outside

Outside the courthouse, a crowd of spectators was split between those who want to see the 19-year-old convicted and others calling for his release. Tsarnaev arrived to the federal courthouse in a four-vehicle motorcade hours before the hearing officially began. As he was escorted inside, chants of "justice for Dzhokhar" and "give him his freedom back" erupted, the Globe said. In addition to the federal charges he was in court for today, Tsarnaev also faces a state indictment with 12 criminal charges, including a murder count for the death of the MIT's Collier, The New York Times said.

Tsarnaev's next court date is set for September 23rd and, according to NPR, his federal trial could last about four months with federal prosecutors calling on as many as 100 witnesses.