Boston bomber suspect Tsarnaev smiles in court, pleads not guilty

Boston bomber suspect Tsarnaev smiles in court, pleads not guilty

Boston bomber suspect Tsarnaev smiles in court, pleads not guilty

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WHAS11.com

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM

BOSTON -- Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev smiled and at one time appeared to smirk during a hearing today as he pleaded not guilty to all 30 counts against him.

Brought into a Boston federal courthouse in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, the seven-minute hearing was the first the public has seen of Dzhokhar since his arrest after a violent shoot out with police in late April in which he was badly injured. In court today Dzhokhar's face was swollen on one side and his left hand was bandaged.

He leaned into a microphone to say "not guilty" seven times in response to his charges and repeatedly turned to smile at his sisters in the court audience, who were heard crying throughout the hearing.

Dzhokhar is accused of working with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. Prosecutors said the pair also murdered an MIT police officer.

Tamerlan was killed in a firefight with police days after the bombing -- the same gun battle that Dzhokhar escaped with serious injuries. Dzhokhar was later found bloody and hiding in a boat in a Boston suburb, having allegedly scrawled anti-American messages on the boat's wall.

Both the families of some of the bombing victims and supporters of Dzhokhar's, including his two sisters, attended the hearing. Top law enforcement officials in Boston also attended.

One of those officials, MIT Police Chief John DiFava told ABC News he was "disgusted" by Dzhokhar's apparent smirk.

Liz Norden, whose sons Paul and JP each lost a leg in the bombing, told ABC News Tuesday she planned to attend today to stare down "the face of evil."

FULL COVERAGE: Boston Marathon Bombing

Dzhokhar's mother, Zubeidate Tsarnaeva, told ABC News today that anyone angry with her son is only angry because they do not know he is innocent. One supporter of Dzhokhar's said before the hearing that he believed Dzhokhar was framed.

Zubeidat said that she and her husband will be monitoring the trial from their home in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a restive region of southern Russia. Zubeidat, who has an open arrest warrant in Massachusetts in connection with a shoplifting charge, said she hoped to travel to the U.S., but only once she has assurances she'll be able to see her son.

"His fate is in Allah's hands," she told ABC News before the hearing, speaking in Russian.

READ: Boston Marathon Bombing, a Timeline of Terror

There was a massive security presence from local police to federal agents at the court house and the surrounding area. State Police divers searched the perimeter of the waterfront nearby and a Boston Police Harbor Unit boat patrolled the waters.

Michele McPhee is a Boston-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to ABC News.

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