Judge George O'Toole set a trial date of November 3 for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — a year earlier than the defense’s request.
Tsarnaev was not in the packed courtroom this morning, but his lawyers had already requested the trial be scheduled after September 2015. They argued that they have yet to access more than 2,000 items of evidence still in FBI headquarters in Virginia.
David Frank, editor at Massachusetts lawyers weekly, says it’s unlikely that date will stay.
“The amount of work that still needs to be done in order for the lawyers to prepare is just overwhelming," he said. "It’s a gargantuan task. And I don’t see any way in the world that the lawyers can appear in the same courthouse in November and answer that they’re ready for trial.”
Prosecutors announced last month they will seek the death penalty against 20-year-old Tsarnaev.
O’Toole set another hearing in the case for June 18. The two sides are expected to discuss that day whether the defense wants a change of venue.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all 30 federal counts. 3 people died and more than 260 were wounded in the April 15 blasts. Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, also allegedly killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge a few days later as they tried to flee the area. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown several hours later.
Several of those injured at the finish line were in the courtroom for the hearing, but declined to comment afterward.