A judge has set a trial date of Nov. 3 in the case of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — nearly a year earlier than what defense lawyers wanted.
Tsarnaev, who was not in court for Wednesday's hearing, could face the death penalty if convicted at a trial that is expected to last 12 weeks with a six-week sentencing phase.
Judge George O’Toole told the court the trial date was a “realistic and fair one.”
During the hearing, both sides sparred over the pace at which evidence — including 2,000 pieces at a federal lab in Quantico, Va. — can be inspected.
The defense complained the effort was "laboriously slow." A prosecutor said his office was going "above and beyond what we need to do."
Lawyers for Tsarnaev also said bad weather and even the Olympics have hampered their own probe, which extends to their client's family "halfway around the globe" in Russia.
The two sides are due back in court June 18 to discuss a change of venue motion, though it's possible they could meet sooner to hash out other issues.
Authorities say Tsarnaev, 20, and his older brother — who was killed in a firefight with police — built and planted two pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and injured at least 260 others at the iconic race last April.
He is also charged with killing an MIT campus police officer before he was found hiding in a dry-docked boat during a massive manhunt that put the city on lockdown.
First published February 12 2014, 7:21 AM
Tom Winter is a producer and reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit based in New York. He covers crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast.
Previously he has covered high-profile criminal trials, including those of George Zimmerman, Jerry Sandusky trial and Martha Stewart. In addition, he has covered major breaking news events such as the shootings at Virginia Tech and Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and the bombing of the Boston Marathon. While in the New York Bureau, he also covered several hurricanes and natural disaster events.
Winter has over 10 years of experience in radio, television, and online writing and production. He started his career at NBC News as an intern on the TODAY Show and has worked at NBC station WCAU in Philadelphia as well as the National News Desk and the New York Bureau.