Marathon suspect’s widow in court in driving case
WRENTHAM, Mass. (AP) — The widow of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev appeared in court Thursday to deal with motor vehicle charges filed following a traffic stop four months after the deadly attack.
Katherine Russell, 24, has never spoken publicly about the April 15 bombings, which authorities say was carried out by her husband and brother-in-law. She has not been charged, although a grand jury looking into the bombings has called her family members to testify as recently as last month.
Russell appeared in Wrentham District Court on charges of driving with a suspended license, speeding and driving an unregistered motor vehicle. She was stopped by police in Franklin in August.
The charges of driving with a suspended license and driving an unregistered motor vehicle were dismissed. Russell was found responsible for speeding, which will remain on her driving record. She paid $150 in court costs.
Her lawyer, John St. Cyr, said Russell was stopped at a “traumatic time” in her life and may not have realized her license had been suspended. At the time, she was moving around a lot and couldn’t get back to her home in Cambridge to get her mail, St. Cyr said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police four days after the twin bombings near the marathon finish line, which killed three people and injured more than 260.
His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty in the bombing and is awaiting trial.
Russell was stopped by Franklin police on Aug. 21 after an officer saw a 1999 Honda Accord with Rhode Island plates traveling at a high rate of speed. Radar confirmed that the car was going 46 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to a police report.
Russell handed the officer her Massachusetts driver’s license but was unable to produce the car’s registration. She said the car belonged to her father, Warren Russell, and that she had been living with her parents in North Kingstown, R.I.
Records at the time showed the car was unregistered, but a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles on Thursday blamed that on a data entry error.
A computer check during the stop also showed that Russell’s driver’s license, which was under the name Katherine Tsarnaeva, had been suspended for three “surchargable events.”
According to Registry of Motor Vehicle records, her license was suspended indefinitely, effective July 17, because she had had three accidents within a 2-year period.
Associated Press writer Cara Rubinsky contributed to this report from Boston.