The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suffered multiple injuries, including a bullet wound that fractured his skull, before his capture, according to court documents released Monday.
Tsarnaev’s injuries were detailed during a federal court hearing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, held days after he was captured. The transcript describing his wounds had been among the documents in the case sealed by the court.
Stephen Ray Odom, a trauma surgeon, said Tsarnaev’s most serious injury was caused by a bullet that had struck him in the mouth and exited through the left side of his face. Odom described the wound as “a high-powered injury” that, in addition to causing a skull fracture, had also damaged his pharynx, middle ear and a cervical vertebra.
Odom said Tsarnaev had also suffered “multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities,” including his left hand.
Tsarnaev’s injuries were not life-threatening, Odom said, and he had been receiving Dilaudid, a powerful painkiller.
“He definitely knows where he is,” Odom said of Tsarnaev’s state of mind. “He is able to respond vocally.”
Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction causing death, for the April 15 bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than 250 others were wounded.
Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died four days after the attacks as the two engaged in a gunfight with the police, during which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drove over his brother as he escaped in a carjacked sport utility vehicle, according to federal prosecutors.
The younger Tsarnaev was eventually found badly wounded, hiding in a boat in a nearby backyard.
Tsarnaev is being held at a medical facility at Fort Devens, a U.S. military base about 40 miles west of Boston. He is due back in court on Sept. 23.