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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, at hospital bedside, learns he could face death penalty in Boston Marathon bombings

Left, Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is

Left, Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is being held under guard at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, right. (April 21, 2013) Credit: FBI, Getty Images

BOSTON -- Roused by a doctor Monday, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lay in his Boston hospital bed as a federal prosecutor explained he could face the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombings a week earlier.

According to a court transcript of the bedside hearing, the suspect nodded affirmatively throughout the proceeding, beginning when a doctor, identified only by his last name, Odom, asked him, "How are you feeling? Are you able to answer some questions?"

The proceedings began when the judge instructed the doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital by saying, "You can rouse him."

Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass., was represented by federal public defender William Fick, who told the judge that he had spoken to the suspect, but "very briefly, your honor."

The suspect was read his Miranda rights, and asked whether he understood, Tsarnaev nodded affirmatively.

Tsarnaev spoke only once, saying "no" when U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler asked whether he could afford an attorney.

Bowler informed Tsarnaev of the charges against him: use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.

Federal prosecutor William Weinreb told the gathering at Tsarnaev's bedside that the maximum penalty on each count is death or imprisonment for any number of years or imprisonment for life, along with a possible fine of $250,000.

The question of bail was deferred when Tsarnaev's defense attorney said his client agrees to voluntary detention.

In calling for detention, the prosecutor said Tsarnaev is a flight risk and said he may "intimidate witnesses if released."

Bowler ended the hearing by saying she found Tsarnaev "alert, mentally competent and lucid."

With Ellen Yan

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