Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Judge Moves Start Date to January

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A judge has granted a two-month delay in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, moving the start of the trial to January 5, 2015. The trial was slated to begin in November.

But Federal Judge George O'Toole Jr. rejected a request for a change of trial venue, ruling it will be held in Boston.

O'Toole said while news media coverage of the case has been extensive, "it is doubtful whether a jury could be selected anywhere in the country whose members were wholly unaware of the Marathon bombings." Quoting from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that established new rules for changing trial venue, O'Toole said "prominence does not necessarily produce prejudice, and juror impartiality does not require ignorance."

He added that it was not credible to believe — as Tsarnaev's lawyers have claimed — that an impartial jury could not be successfully selected in Boston. Defense attorneys had asked to have the trial moved to Washington, D.C., and delayed until at least September 2015, according to NBC affiliate New England Cable News.

Tsarnaev, 20, could face the death penalty if he's convicted on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death in the detonation of pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the race on April 15, 2013. His older brother, Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout with police three days later.


— Tom Winter and Pete Williams