CBS/AP December 18, 2014, 10:21 AM

Boston Marathon bombing suspect back in court for 1st time since 2013

In this photo taken by Sgt. Sean Murphy and published on, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev climbs out of a boat he was hiding in on April 19, 2013. SEAN MURPHY

BOSTON -- Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013.

Boston Marathon bombing suspects

Security was tight at the federal courthouse in Boston for the final pretrial conference before his trial begins next month.

Tsarnaev, 21, was led into the courtroom by U.S. marshals. He was wearing a black sweater and gray trousers and had a scruffy beard and a mop top hairstyle similar to the one seen in his mug shot. He smiled to his attorneys and one patted him on the arm.

WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong reports
that a woman screamed out in Russian during the trial and was escorted out of the courtroom. She said she is the mother of Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen immigrant killed last year by an FBI agent after being questioned about his connections to Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The courtroom was packed with FBI agents, police who worked on the case and more than a dozen survivors and family members.

"There's going to be an outpouring of emotion that's going to be revisited now. We're all going to relive what happened," said WBZ-TV legal analyst Gerry Leone.

"Some of the attempt of recovery is being able to come face-to-face with that person who's accused of doing those heinous and horrible things to you and or your loved ones," Leone said.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the April 2013 marathon.

Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted.

Deadly explosions at Boston Marathon

At his last court appearance nearly 1 1/2 years ago, Tsarnaev still bore signs of the bloody standoff with police that led to his capture and the death of his older brother, Tamerlan. His left arm was in a cast and his face was swollen. He appeared to have a jaw injury.

Thursday's court hearing was the last one scheduled before jury selection begins Jan. 5. The trial is expected to last several months, and seating a jury alone could take several weeks to a month.

Judge George O'Toole Jr. questioned Tsarnaev about whether he had waived his right to appear at previous hearings. Tsarnaev answered in a clear voice: "Yes, sir."

Asked by the judge if his lawyers had acted in his best interests, he said: "Very much."

O'Toole said he remains concerned about disclosures in the media that possibly could have come from law enforcement sources. But he said prosecutors have responded to Tsarnaev's lawyers' complaints, reinforcing that officials shouldn't be talking to reporters.

Boston Marathon bombing victims

Prosecutors and defense attorneys were expected to discuss the jury selection process. Both sides have submitted questions they want the judge to ask potential jurors, who will be selected from a pool of at least 1,200 people.

A defense motion to move the trial out of Boston also is still pending. Earlier this month, Tsarnaev's lawyers argued anew that "emotionally charged" media coverage and the widespread impact of the attacks have made it impossible for him to get a fair trial in Massachusetts.

O'Toole had rejected Tsarnaev's first request in September to move the trial, ruling that defense lawyers had failed to show that extensive pretrial media coverage of the bombings had prejudiced the jury pool to the point that an impartial jury could not be chosen in Boston.

Tsarnaev's lawyers previously said the trial should be moved to Washington, D.C.

O'Toole also rejected a defense request that prosecutors turn over evidence about his older brother's possible participation in a 2011 triple killing in suburban Waltham.