Lawyers for Boston bombing suspect want to delay death penalty decision


This image released by the FBI on April 19, 2013, shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been been convicted and sentenced to death for his role in Boston Marathon bombing.



Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have asked a judge to push back an Oct. 31 deadline for prosecutors to recommend whether he should face the death penalty.

Tsarnaev, 20, is facing federal charges from the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Federal prosecutors are set to decide at the end of next month whether to recommend the death penalty for Tsarnaev. 

US Attorney General Eric Holder will make the ultimate decision early next year but will consider the prosecutors' recommendation.

Tsarnaev's defense team asked US District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. on Monday to extend the deadline so they have more time to prepare an argument against the death penalty. 

They also asked for more evidence from prosecutors and said they had not yet seen key interviews or grand jury testimony of Tsarnaev's family. 

"We’re really talking about a number of things here, including fairness," said one of Tsanaev’s lawyers, Judy Clarke.

"It's pretty stunning to say they can make a decision based on what they know without some defense input," she said.

Clarke is a well-known San Diego lawyer with a long track record of winning life sentences instead of the death penalty for high profile clients, including the Unabomber and the gunman who shot former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, reports the Associated Press. 

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Prosecutors argued that it has been nearly six months since the bombings, which is a "reasonable" time to have prepared an argument.

Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty in July to a 30-count federal indictment that alleges he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police, planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Tsarnaev also faces charges in the killing of MIT police officer Sean Collier.