Feds Ask to Block Boston Bombing Suspect from Autopsy Photos

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombing, in a photo released at April 19, 2013 by the FBI. FBI

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Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to block Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from looking at any autopsy photos of his four alleged victims unless they will be shown at the trial.

This restriction shouldn't apply to his lawyers, the government says. But letting Tsarnaev himself look at them "would violate the victims' rights to dignity and privacy and subject them to needless harm and suffering."

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, placed two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last April, killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring more than 260.

Prosecutors say the pair later shot an MIT police officer to death while trying to evade arrest. Tamerlan was killed during the manhunt.

Allowing the pictures of the victims "to be viewed by the man accused of mutilating them would needlessly re-victimize the family members in the same way that innocent children who are photographed pornographically are re-victimized whenever those photos are seen by others," prosecutors say in a written motion filed today.

It was filed in response to a demand from his lawyers that they be given copies of all the autopsy photos. The government has said it would make the photos available for viewing by his lawyers but would not provide copies.

— Pete Williams and Tom Winter