August 12th, 2013
05:23 AM ET

Nazi war crimes suspect Laszlo Csatary dies

Laszlo Csatary, the Nazi war crimes suspect who was arrested last year, has died, his lawyer told Hungarian media. He was 98.

Csatary was accused of sending more than 15,000 Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp in the spring of 1944.

Csatary was arrested in June 2012 after a Jewish rights organization discovered him living in Budapest. The Simon Wiesenthal Center considered him its most-wanted Nazi war criminal.

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Filed under: Crime • Hungary • Justice • War • World
August 8th, 2013
09:23 PM ET

Family wants answers after Florida teen's Taser death

The family of a Florida teen who died after being Tasered by police wants answers from authorities in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach police said officers spotted aspiring artist Israel Hernandez spray-painting the side of a vacant McDonald's off Collins Avenue, the city's main drag. Hernandez led them on a foot chase, ignoring commands to stop, until he was cornered, they said.
"In order to affect his arrest, an officer deployed his conducted electrical weapon (TASER)," police said in a statement. But afterward, Hernandez "displayed signs of medical duress" and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
"We're in a country that defends human rights - a country that sets an example and dares to ask countries that use excessive force," his father, also named Israel Hernandez, told CNN. "That is my son's case. Excessive force."

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August 7th, 2013
02:15 AM ET

Castro's house of horrors in Cleveland set to be demolished

The house of horrors where Ariel Castro held three women captive for a decade will crumble to pieces Wednesday as workers demolish the Cleveland home.

Castro forfeited the house on Seymour Avenue as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that took the death penalty off the table in exchange for a life sentence, plus 1,000 years in prison.

The goal is the tear the house down and get the property filled in, graded and seeded in a single day, according to Gus Frangos, president of Cuyahoga Land Bank, which is supervising the demolition.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
August 5th, 2013
11:22 PM ET

South California Amber Alert seeks 2 children

Authorities in Southern California have issued an Amber Alert for a 16-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother after their mother was found dead inside a burned-out house Monday.

A child's body also was found in the building, along with a dog that had been killed.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has named James Lee DiMaggio, a friend of the mother's, as the suspect.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
Castro's victims resilient after torment
August 2nd, 2013
05:08 AM ET

Castro's victims resilient after torment

They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape.

He tied and chained them up, removed handles from doors and replaced them with padlocks. He rigged entrances to the house with makeshift alarms, threatened them with a gun and fed them only once a day.

He covered windows to keep them out of view and sunlight out of their rooms.

But Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus focused on the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

They nurtured the faith that they would one day be free. They clung to each other. They persevered and emerged from years of hell to find new life.

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Filed under: Cleveland • Content Partner • Courts • Crime • Health • Hostages • Justice • Ohio • Religion • TV-Anderson Cooper 360 • U.S. • Uncategorized • World Update
August 2nd, 2013
12:24 AM ET

No charges filed over Chile mine collapse

Who's to blame for the mine collapse that trapped 33 workers underground for months in Chile?

No one, according to prosecutors, who closed the case Thursday after a lengthy investigation.

Nearly three years after the collapse at the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, prosecutors said, there's not enough evidence to file criminal charges.

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Filed under: Justice • World
August 1st, 2013
04:02 AM ET

Snowden's lawyer: common ground with U.S.

Edward Snowden is in good health in Russia and his lawyer there is amenable to hammering out an ending that would satisfy all. This, according to his father's lawyer, Bruce Fein, who appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Wednesday night.

He relayed the conversation he had with Russian lawyer Anatoli Cuchara.

"There may be a time, where it would be constructive to try and meet and see whether there can't be common ground that everyone agrees would advance the interest, the United States, Mr. Snowden, Lon, his father and the interest of Russia in trying to resolve this in a way that honors due process and the highest principles of fairness and civilization," Fein said.

Snowden is afraid he would not get a fair trial if he came back to the United States.

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August 1st, 2013
03:01 AM ET

Rapist custody rights: Most states have them

When an Ohio judge denied a request for Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro to visit the 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of the women he kidnapped and raped, the reason seemed pretty clear cut.

"I just think that would be inappropriate," Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo said last month.

The idea that Castro - who will be sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to 937 counts - would have any parental rights is hard to believe. But in 31 states, rapists do enjoy the rights of a father.

Ohio currently has no laws that would take away Castro's parental rights for fathering the child with Amanda Berry, who he abducted in 2003 when she was a teenager.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
August 1st, 2013
01:56 AM ET

Police chief who posted gun video suspended

An eastern Pennsylvania police chief who went on a profanity-laced video rant against those who disagreed with him on gun laws has been suspended for 30 days without pay.

The punishment wasn't for his diatribe though.

The borough council in the coal town of Gilberton said that police Chief Mark Kessler used "burough property for non-burough purposes without permission" when he made the video where he's seen shooting semiautomatic and automatic weapons.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
August 1st, 2013
12:31 AM ET

Attorney: Ariel Castro to speak at sentencing

The Ohio man who imprisoned three women in his Cleveland home for a decade will speak at length during his sentencing Thursday, delivering a statement that his sister promises will allow people to see "the other side of Ariel Castro."

Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping, in a deal that dropped a possible death penalty in exchange for life in prison plus 1,000 years.

He'll give a rather lengthy statement, explaining his life and who he really is, his sister, Marisol Alicea, told CNN on Wednesday night.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
July 17th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Discord, details flow after Zimmerman trial

The George Zimmerman murder trial is over, but details from the case continue to emerge at a dizzying pace.

Several jurors have spoken out after the verdict. The prosecution's key witness has been offered a full ride to college. And Attorney General Eric Holder blasted "stand your ground" laws but gave no hint about whether Zimmerman will face civil rights charges.

Here's the latest on the Zimmerman trial aftermath:

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
Supreme Court gives two big victories for gay rights
June 26th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

Supreme Court gives two big victories for gay rights

  • The Supreme Court issues two key rulings affecting same-sex marriage in the U.S.  
  • Part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down
  • The justices also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California after rejecting an appeal on the state's Proposition 8
  • Refresh this page for the latest news, analysis and reaction

[Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET] It's the end of a busy morning of momentous rulings from the Supreme Court. We're still working on getting analysis on and reaction to the two landmark decisions that will impact marriage between same-sex couples in the United States and we'll bring that to you on CNN.com, CNN's mobile apps and CNN TV.

We'll sign off this live blog now, thanks for reading. Here are links to more of the coverage we already have:

Our main story: Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory

Details on the DOMA case: Supreme Court strikes down federal provision on same-sex marriage benefits

Details on the Proposition 8 case: Supreme Court dismisses California's Proposition 8 appeal

From CNN Money: The financial impact of the same-sex marriage ruling

Gay celebrities who are married or engaged

Same-sex marriage by the numbers

[Updated at 11:49 a.m. ET] Religion and marriage are intricately tied together for many and our Belief blog co-editor Daniel Burke has got a range of reaction from believers and non-believers.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is one of those looking at the decisions through a religion lens:

[Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET] Both the decisions affecting same-sex marriage were 5-4 splits. And the dissenting justices put out some strong opinions of their own.

Justice Scalia on the DOMA case:

Few public controversies touch an institution so central to the lives of so many, and few inspire such attendant passion by good people on both sides. Few public controversies will ever demonstrate so vividly the beauty of what our Framers gave us, a gift the Court pawns today to buy its stolen moment in the spotlight: a system of government that permits us to rule ourselves.

Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters to much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

Justice Kennedy on the Proposition 8 case:

What the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government. The California initiative process embodies these principles and has done so for over a century... In California and the 26 other States that permit initiatives and popular referendums, the people have exercised their own inherent sovereign right to govern themselves. The Court today frustrates that choice.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET] Kris Perry, one of the key figures in the Proposition 8 case, said it was a victory not just for couples wanting to wed but also children. "No matter where you live, no matter who your parents are, no matter what kind of family you're in, you are equal, you are as good as your friends' parents and your friends."

She added: "We can go back to California and say to our own children - all four of our boys - your family is just as good as everybody else's family."

[Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET] There are a lot of rainbow flags flying today. Including on Google if you search "gay."

[Updated at 11:11 a.m. ET] Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement saying his group was "disappointed" in the DOMA ruling and "disturbed" by the detail of the Proposition 8 decision but that it also took some heart from the Supreme Court's actions.

“Their refusal to redefine marriage for all states is a major setback for those seeking to redefine natural marriage," he said. "Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify."

He concluded: “What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.”

[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET] The Human Rights Campaign, which has pushed for LGBT equality, is declaring two "monumental victories." Here's the top of their statement:

In recent years, California’s Proposition 8 and the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act became symbols of anti-LGBT discrimination around the country and around the world. Today, both crumbled.
In a watershed moment in the fight for equality, the United States Supreme Court today ruled to return marriage equality to California and to strike down DOMA. The court ruled in the Prop 8 case on procedural grounds, not reaching a decision on the merits of Prop 8 or the broader question of whether the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to marry the person you love.
Marriages in California are expected to begin again soon. While a joyous milestone, these victories nonetheless throw into sharp relief the uneven progress for LGBT people around the country—a landscape where states like California are rapidly advancing toward equality, but progress in many other places remains stagnant.

[Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET] A little more detail on exactly what the Proposition 8 decision by the Supreme Court means: By dismissing the case, the decision will allow for the lower court decision in California that allows for same-sex marriage to be reinstated. The appeals court stay on the decision will be lifted.

[Updated at 10:59 a.m. ET] Here's what Hollywood is saying - some reactions from celebrities, many of whom have campaigned for gay rights.

And this is George Takei on Facebook:

Today marks a watershed moment in history and a tremendous victory for the principle of equality. The 5-4 decision by our Supreme Court striking down DOMA affirms the universality of love–the desire of all people not only to find, but to value and affirm, a lifelong commitment to another person.

I have lived nearly four score years, and have borne witness to both the heartbreak and promise of true justice and equality in America. Today my heart soars, and my faith in the promise of our great nation is renewed.

Now, if there's anything we gays know how to do well, it is to celebrate! Let the joy of this day ring out with PRIDE.

[Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET] The key couples in the California case just held their arms aloft in celebration on the steps of the Supreme Court building. "This is a great day for America," said one of their lawyers, David Boies.

[Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET] So what's your reaction to the rulings today?

[Updated at 10:38 a.m. ET] It sounds like we'll be looking into these rulings for a while – Jeffrey Toobin just said the Proposition 8 case was "a puzzling decision" and a "puzzling" line-up of justices who backed the decision.

The opinion about Proposition 8 was written by Chief Justice Roberts who was joined by Justice Scalia, a conservative, and three liberals – Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Kagan.

[Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET] Same-sex marriage can resume in California - that's the result of the Supreme Court ruling just in that dismisses an appeal regarding California's Proposition 8.

From our colleague Bill Mears:

The Supreme Court has dismissed a closely-watched appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday private parties do not have "standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbians couples from state-sanctioned wedlock. The ruling permits same-sex couples in California to legally marry. The 5-4 decision avoids for now a sweeping conclusion on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutionally-protected "equal protection" right that would apply to all states. The case is Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144).

[Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET] New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told CNN the ruling was a "great win." "“A great win not just for the gay community, it’s a great win for the American tradition of equal justice under the law,” he said.

[Updated at 10:29 a.m. ET] House Speaker John Boehner was just asked about the DOMA case, but he declined comment until he's read the ruling.

[Updated at 10:26 a.m. ET] The ruling on Proposition 8 - California's ban on same-sex marriage - is in.

[Updated at 10:23 a.m. ET] And yes, the president was watching. His Twitter account is calling the DOMA ruling "a historic step forward," though it's not signed with the "bo" that shows he wrote it.

[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET] President Obama was going to be monitoring the rulings on Air Force One as he heads to Senegal, CNN's Jessica Yellin reports.

[Updated at 10:17 a.m. ET] Supporters of same-sex marriage waiting outside the Supreme Court cheered the DOMA decision. Reaction is also coming in from Twitter.

DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that "finally" all married couples would get benefits.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] Of course we can't draw any conclusions from the DOMA ruling about which way the justices will decide on California's Proposition 8. 

[Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET] The justices were split 5-4. The majority ruling was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Dissents were written by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel Alito.

[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET] Legal expert Jeffrey Toobin puts the ruling in context: "DOMA is gone."

[Updated at 10:08 a.m. ET] From our team in Washington:

The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits.

[Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET] This is the case where Edie Windsor said she had to pay more in inheritance tax than warranted because her spouse was a woman not a man.

[Updated at 10:02 a.m. ET] We're reading the decision to see how the justices ruled regarding the rights of legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.

[Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET] There is a ruling in the DOMA case.

[Updated at 10:00 a.m. ET] So it's 10 a.m. in the nation's capital and the Supreme Court should be sitting. No cameras inside the court of course, so we can only assume they are good timekeepers.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m. ET] Two days ago Lady Gaga called on the Supreme Court to "make history & stand for MARRIAGE EQUALITY." That's now been retweeted nearly 14,000 times. But will it have had any impact on the nine justices?

[Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET] Here are some of the people who weren't specifically part of the cases argued before the Supreme Court but who will almost certainly be affected by the rulings. CNN's Moni Basu profiled gay couples who are at the center of two big political debates – same-sex marriage and immigration.

[Updated at 9:44 a.m. ET] While we're waiting for the opinions to be delivered, here's Donna Brazile's take on yesterday's landmark ruling on the Voting Rights Act. The Democratic strategist says it's time for President Obama and Congress to pass a new Voting Rights Act.

[Updated at 9: 40 a.m. ET] A quick reminder that you can watch our reporting live on CNN TV as well as refreshing this page and staying with CNN on CNN.com and our mobile apps.

[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET] Large crowds are gathering outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. and on social media. Right now we can see rainbow gay pride banners and blue flags with a yellow "=" sign that is a standard of those fighting for more rights for same-sex couples. Not in view are groups who support traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but that's not to say they're not there. Both sides were strongly represented when the Supreme Court heard the arguments back in March.

On Twitter, #DOMA will probably start trending soon. There's certainly a lot of people tweeting about the Supreme Court today.

The Tie the Knot organization that wants marriage equality tweeted "The big day is here."

It's no surprise that GLAAD wants marriage equality.

Or that the Family Research Council is backing traditional unions.

And this, from CNN legal eagle Jeffrey Toobin:

[Posted at 9:05 a.m. ET] It's set to be the last public day of the Supreme Court session, and we're waiting for opinions in three cases - two of which address same-sex marriage.

It's widely expected that we'll get rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, and those rulings could affect the lives, rights and finances of millions of Americans.

CNN Supreme Court producer Bill Mears writes that DOMA, passed in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, like taxes. "That means the estimated 120,000 gay and lesbian couples legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are still considered - in the eyes of DOMA opponents - the equivalent of girlfriend and boyfriend."

That meant that Edie Windsor faced a hefty bill for inheritance taxes when her partner of 42 years died. She claimed in court that she had had to pay $363,053 more than if her spouse, thea Spyer, had been a man.

But Mears points out that the DOMA issue is more than just a financial question:

The larger debate over DOMA's intent and impact 17 years after passage has driven a wedge between the executive and legislative branches.

At issue is what role the federal government should play when it comes to marriage - something states have traditionally controlled.

The other key case expected to be decided today considers Proposition 8. "In the 'Prop 8' case, the high court is being asked to establish a constitutional 'equal protection' right. It is the kind of hot-button issue that will define our society, our laws, our views on family," Mears writes.

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Filed under: Justice • Same-sex marriage • Supreme Court
June 24th, 2013
01:45 AM ET

The Zimmerman trial: What you need to know

Opening statements begin Monday in the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

A jury of six women will decide Zimmerman's fate, which has already drawn some scrutiny from the public about whether he will get a fair trial.

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Police: Day-care operator drugged kids
June 19th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

Police: Day-care operator drugged kids

Getting children to take a nap can be hard. Getting them to eat pancakes is not nearly as difficult.

Police in Westerville, Ohio, say a 37-year-old mother operating a day care out of her home hit upon a plan - she allegedly crushed medications that cause drowsiness and put them in the pancakes.

Tammy Eppley has been charged with six counts of child endangerment. Her first court date is July 12.

Eppley, who runs the Caterpillar Clubhouse, cared for six children - including one of her own - between the ages of 2 and 5, police said.

"This is mortifying. I'm a very private person and I'm very protective of my children and the children in my care," she said.

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FBI 'most wanted' alleged sex abuser arrested
June 19th, 2013
03:13 AM ET

FBI 'most wanted' alleged sex abuser arrested

Mexican authorities have arrested a former college professor who was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list over allegations of child sex abuse.

Walter Lee Williams was detained late Tuesday, Mexican state news agency Notimex reported.

The FBI placed the former university professor wanted for alleged sexual exploitation of children on the list Monday, according to Notimex.

Williams researched in the field of gender development at a university in California, which gave him easy access to his victims, mainly teenage boys in developing countries, the FBI said.

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Filed under: California • Child safety • Crime • FBI • Indonesia • Justice • Mexico • Peru • Thailand • U.S. • Uncategorized • World • World Update
June 18th, 2013
01:51 AM ET

Man points fake grenade launcher at cars

A man who paraded his cloaked 16-year-old nephew around a busy Phoenix intersection with a fake rocket-propelled grenade launcher was convicted Monday on endangerment and terrorism hoax charges.

Michael David Turley, 40, posted a video on YouTube showing the teen walking around the streets covered in a sheet and pointing the fake weapon at cars. The video went viral with over 250,000 hits.

In the video, a man says he and an actor are trying to test how police would respond to such a scene at a busy intersection.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Justice • U.S.
June 17th, 2013
01:44 PM ET

Justices strike part of Ariz. voter law

The Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a provision in Arizona's voter registration law that required proof of citizenship.

The 7-2 majority said the state's voter-approved Proposition 200 interfered with federal law designed to make voter registration easier.

The state called the provision a "sensible precaution" to prevent voter fraud. Civil rights group countered that it added an unconstitutional and burdensome layer of paperwork for tens of thousands of citizens.

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts
Jury begins weighing if Jodi Arias gets death
An Arizona jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder earlier this month.
May 21st, 2013
06:21 PM ET

Jury begins weighing if Jodi Arias gets death

Jurors in Arizona began deliberating Tuesday whether Jodi Arias will receive the death penalty or life in prison for killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008.

The jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder earlier this month.

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Justice
Arias could face death penalty, jury decides
Arias sobbed in the courtroom as prosecutors presented evidence.
May 15th, 2013
09:48 PM ET

Arias could face death penalty, jury decides

Jodi Arias could face the death penalty, nearly five years after she stabbed, shot and almost decapitated her ex-boyfriend.

A jury Wednesday found that Arias was "exceptionally cruel" when she murdered Travis Alexander in 2008. That verdict is a key step that makes Arias, 32, eligible for the death penalty in the next phase of her trial.

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Filed under: Arizona • Justice
Source: Bomb suspect says brother drove plot
Boston police released this photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev using an ATM after he and his brother allegedly carjacked a man.
April 23rd, 2013
03:41 AM ET

Source: Bomb suspect says brother drove plot

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told investigators that his older brother - not any international terrorist group - masterminded the deadly attack, a U.S. government source said.

Preliminary interviews with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists, the source said Monday.

Tsarnaev has conveyed to investigators that Tamerlan's motivation was that of jihadist thought and the idea that Islam is under attack and jihadists need to fight back, the source said.

The government source cautioned that the interviews were preliminary, and that Tsarnaev's account needs to be checked out and followed up on by investigators.

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Filed under: Boston • Crime • Justice • Massachusetts • Terrorism
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