The surviving Boston Marathon bombings suspect was moved from a hospital on Friday to a federal prison medical center. FBI agents have, meanwhile, shifted the focus of their probe to how the deadly plot was carried out and searched for evidence in a landfill near the college he attended.
Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was transferred overnight from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Federal Medical Center Devens, about 40 miles west of Boston, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
In the federal prison hospital in Ayer, Tsarnaev has been confined to a small, single-person cell linked to the outside only by a narrow window and a slot for food, the Boston Globe reports. The facility at a former Army base treats federal prisoners and detainees in need for specialized long-term medical or mental health care.
Tsarnaev is charged with joining with his older brother Tamerlan – a 26-year-old who was shot dead on April 15, the day they set off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs during the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounded more than 260. He is recovering from a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway.
Tsarnaev is one of seven pretrial inmates in the facility, consigned to a high-security section where he is receiving regular medical attention and scrutiny from guards, prison spokesman John Colautti was quoted as saying.
"It's where he should be; he doesn't need to be here anymore," Beth Israel patient Linda Zamansky told The Associated Press. Zamansky thought the absence of the suspect could reduce stress on bombing victims who have been recovering at the hospital.
On Friday afternoon, Beth Israel Deaconess held a healing service attended by about 300 employees in a lobby. The hospital's Inspirational Singers, an a cappella group, sang "Amazing Grace" and "America the Beautiful."
The suspect was transferred to the federal facility a day after it was learned that Tsarnaev and his brother had planned to go to Times Square in New York to blow up the rest of their explosives. They portrayed an impromptu scheme that failed when they realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas.
The Associated Press reports that the FBI probe has now turned from identification and apprehension of suspects to the details of the plot, and FBI agents were gathering evidence regarding "everything imaginable." According to a federal law enforcement official not authorized to speak on the record, FBI agents picked through a landfill near the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Tsarnaev was a sophomore.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials on Friday acknowledged for the first time that the suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, was under investigation before the attack. She had been added to a federal terrorism database about 18 months before the deadly attack.
In an interview from Russia, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told The Associated Press Friday she had never been linked to terrorism. "It's all lies and hypocrisy," she was quoted as saying from Dagestan. "I'm sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I've never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism." She faces shoplifting charges in the U.S. over the theft of more than $1,624 worth of women's clothing from a Lord & Taylor department store in Natick in 2012.
Tsarnaev and his slain brother are ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago with their parents. Investigators say it appears that they were angry about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Russia reportedly contacted the CIA in 2011 with concerns that Zubeidat and her son Tamerlan were religious militants.