BOSTON — Newly released court documents describe the extent of injuries to the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, including multiple gunshot wounds to his face and a skull fracture.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s injuries were described by Dr. Stephen Ray Odom during a legal proceeding at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center three days after Tsarnaev was captured hiding in a boat in a backyard in the Boston suburb of Watertown. A transcript of the testimony was unsealed Monday by U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr.
Odom, a trauma surgeon who treated Tsarnaev, said the most severe injury was from a bullet that appeared to enter through the left inside of his mouth and exit the lower section of his face on the left side. He described it as a “high-powered injury” that resulted in a skull-base fracture, injuries to his middle ear, the skull base, the pharynx and mouth.
Odom said Tsarnaev also had wounds to his lower extremities and bone injuries to his left hand.
Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges in the April 15 bombing – including using a weapon of mass destruction – and faces a potential death sentence if convicted. The twin bombings near the finish line of the marathon killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
During his arraignment last month, Tsarnaev’s jaw appeared injured, and his left eye and cheek were still swollen. He also wore a cast covering his left forearm, hand and fingers for the seven-minute proceeding that marked his first appearance in public since his capture.
Odom said Tsarnaev, who was in the hospital’s intensive care unit at the time of his first legal proceeding, was aware of where he was and knew that he has had multiple medical procedures.
“He knows that he has an injury to the neck and to the hand,” Odom said.
Tsarnaev was wounded during a confrontation with police a day after authorities released photos of him and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped during the shootout, running over his brother in the process. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following the shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured the next day in Watertown.
Tsarnaev’s lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on the newly released documents. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz also declined to comment.