BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Tuesday agreed to extend a deadline for attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber to determine whether they will seek to move his trial outside of Boston.
Lawyers had argued that the February 28 deadline was unreasonable given that the U.S. Justice Department is not expected to decide until late January whether accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, will face the possibility of execution if convicted.
U.S. District Court Judge George O‘Toole made his decision known in a brief electronic filing in Boston federal court. The filing did not explain his reasoning or give a new deadline.
U.S. laws generally require a person accused of crimes to face trial in the district where the crimes were committed, though defense attorneys may seek to have the proceedings moved to a district where potential jurors may have been less influenced by pretrial publicity.
The trial of Timothy McVeigh, for instance, who was convicted of the 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City, was moved to Denver.
Tsarnaev is accused of planting two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the crowded finish line of the marathon on April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 260. He has also been charged with murdering a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer three days after the bombing as he prepared to leave Boston with his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who helped plot the attack and died after Dzhokhar ran him over with a car during a gunfight with police after killing the university officer.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges linked to the worst mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Reporting by Scott Malone