Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Smiles in Court, Pleads Not Guilty

Suspect makes first appearance since arrest in April.

ByABC News
July 10, 2013, 12:02 PM

July 10, 2013 — -- Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev smiled and, at one point, appeared to smirk during a hearing today as he pleaded not guilty to all 30 counts against him.

Tsarnaev was brought into a Boston federal courthouse in an orange jumpsuit and shackles. The seven-minute hearing was the first the public has seen of Tsarnaev since his arrest after a violent shootout with police in late April in which he was badly injured.

In court today Tsarnaev's face was swollen on one side and his left hand was bandaged. He leaned into a microphone to say "not guilty" seven times in response to his charges and repeatedly turned to smile at his two sisters in the court audience, who were heard crying throughout the hearing.

Later, Tsarnaev blew his weeping sisters a kiss as marshals led him out.

Tsarnaev is accused of working with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. Prosecutors said the pair also murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a firefight with police days after the bombing -- the same gun battle that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped with serious injuries.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was later found bloody and hiding in a boat in a Boston suburb, having allegedly scrawled anti-American messages on the boat's wall.

Both the families of some of the bombing victims and supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's attended the hearing. Top law enforcement officials in Boston also attended.

One of those officials, MIT Police Chief John DiFava told ABC News he was "disgusted" by Tsarnaev's apparent smirk. He told ABC News that it was clear, at least to him, that Tsarnaev "had absolutely no remorse."

Liz Norden, whose sons Paul and JP each lost a leg in the bombing, told ABC News Tuesday she planned to attend today to stare down "the face of evil."

Later, Norden said she was upset by the Tsarnaev sisters' audible crying.

"They should come to my house and see real suffering,'' Norden told ABC News. "They should see how my sons are in pain every day, how our lives have been turned completely upside down."

FULL COVERAGE: Boston Marathon Bombing

Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told ABC News today that anyone angry with her son is only angry because they do not know he is innocent. One supporter of Tsarnaev's said before the hearing that he believed Tsarnaev was framed.

Tsarnaeva said that she and her husband will be monitoring the trial from their home in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a restive region of southern Russia. Tsarnaeva, who has an open arrest warrant in Massachusetts in connection with a shoplifting charge, said she hoped to travel to the U.S., but only once she has assurances she'll be able to see her son.

"His fate is in Allah's hands," she told ABC News before the hearing, speaking in Russian.

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There was a massive security presence from local police to federal agents at the court house and the surrounding area. State police divers searched the perimeter of the waterfront nearby and a Boston Police Harbor Unit boat patrolled the waters.

MIT Police officers stood in formation outside the courthouse as the motorcade passed to return Tsarnaev to Fort Devens, where he has been held since he was released from Beth Israel Hospital in the days after he was captured.

Somerville Deputy Police Chief Michael Cabral -- who was friends with Collier, the fallen MIT police officer -- was also outside the courtroom.

"We were there to represent the police officer that was killed, and the one that was gravely wounded," Cabral said.

Michele McPhee is a Boston-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to ABC News.