BOSTON – Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose federal terrorism trial is set to start Jan. 5, lost a last-ditch bid to delay the proceeding after one of his best friends pleaded guilty in a related gun case.
Tsarnaev, 21, also lost a request to relocate the trial to New York or Washington from Boston — a move the defense argued was necessary to secure unbiased jurors in a case where he may face the death penalty if he's convicted. His lawyers appealed the ruling.
U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. in Boston issued the brief decision Wednesday without explanation and said a formal opinion would be posted later.
The rulings are the latest setback for Tsarnaev, accused of detonating two homemade bombs in crowds near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three spectators and wounding 260 others. It was the deadliest terrorist bombing in the U.S. since the attacks of September 2001. Previous bids to move or delay the trial were also denied.
Tsarnaev's defense team, which has worked on high-profile death penalty cases, sought to delay the trial until September after Stephen Silva, who went to high school with Tsarnaev, reached a Dec. 19 plea deal on gun and heroin charges and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of his former classmate.