Report: Tsarnaev Admitted Guilt Before Being Mirandized

The Boston Globe reports that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev admitted to authorities that he and his brother set the bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon last Monday and that they killed an MIT police office late on Thursday night:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev admitted to authorities Sunday that he and his brother were behind the Marathon bombings, according to a senior law enforcement official.

Tsarnaev made his admissions to FBI agents who interviewed him at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is being treated for multiple gunshot wounds. He had not yet been given a Miranda warning.

Tsarnaev’s attorneys are certain to challenge the legal admissibility of those admissions, and other information he gave them, such as claiming that he and his brothers acted alone, and that his brother was radicalized in an extreme form of Islam in part because he opposed US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But in an interview with the Globe, a senior police official said authorities are not worried about the initial admission to authorities being thrown out, because they have a strong witness: the man who was abducted by the Tsarnaev brothers last Thursday night.

Police sources told the Globe that the carjack victim has told police that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother pointed guns at him and, in an apparent effort to intimidate the victim and dissaude him from trying anything foolish, Tamerlan Tsarnaev told him, “We just killed a cop. We blew up the marathon. And now we’re going to New York. Don’t [expletive] with us.”

If this case goes to trial, we’re likely to see a legal battle of some kind regarding the admissibility of Tsarnaev’s statement, assuming that prosecutors will want to use it in Court. Without knowing more about the context of the conversation that elicited this confession, it’s hard to say exactly what the outcome is likely to be. However, we could well see an interesting legal battle over the boundaries of the “public safety” exception to Miranda v. Arizona. 

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mikey says:

    If this case goes to trial, we’re likely to see a legal battle of some kind regarding the admissibility of Tsarnaev’s statement, assuming that prosecutors will want to use it in Court.

    I don’t think Tsarnaev’s statement matters one whit. There is enough physical and video evidence to send the guy to the gallows already.

  2. CSK says:

    He and his brother also made the same admission–actually a boast–to the guy whom they carjacked in Cambridge. The carjacking victim will be a very powerful witness. So the admissibility of whatever he said before he was Mirandized may well be moot.

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    As the others are saying, his admission is nice for the rest of us, but in court is just icing on the cake. There’s plenty of other evidence to send this little shit straight to the gurney.

    Getting a confession, however, wasn’t the main point of the un-Mirandized questioning. The important stuff was about other bombs and other accomplices.

  4. Caj says:

    He admitted his guilt before being mirandized! What and with not having to be tortured first? Imagine that! That must have taken the fun out of it for some ‘torture at all costs’ lovers!!

  5. @Mikey:

    I tend to agree

  6. Anderson says:

    Note to felons: kill the witness?

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Ummmm….hearsay exception: “statement against self-interest”.

    Thass all ah got…

  8. Tyrell says:

    This is an open and shut case and should be over in two or less weeks. And no tv; we do not need a circus. I wonder how the trials of co-conspirators will go. These two could not have assembled these devices without help from someone and some group. Someone would also have to get the supplies they needed.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell: I confess I’m not following this hour by hour, but so far I’ve seen nothing that requires more than a few hundred dollars and an internet connection.