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Boston suspect was shot in face, had other injuries, surgeon says

| Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been shot through the face and had a fractured skull, wounds in his lower extremities and bone injuries on his left hand when he was caught hiding in a boat in a suburban backyard, according to the surgeon who treated him.

The most severe injury was from a bullet that appeared to enter through the left inside of his mouth and exit the lower section of his face on the left side, Dr. Stephen Ray Odom said during a legal proceeding at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center three days after Tsarnaev's capture. A transcript of the testimony was unsealed on Monday in U.S. District Court.

Tsarnaev was wounded during a confrontation with police a day after authorities released photos of him and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombing.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped during the shootout, running over his brother in the process. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during the shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured the next day in Watertown.

Odom described the face trauma as a “high-powered injury” that resulted in a skull-base fracture, injuries to his middle ear, the skull base, the pharynx and mouth. Tsarnaev also had wounds in his lower extremities and bone injuries to his left hand, Odom said.

Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges in the April 15 bombing — including using a weapon of mass destruction — and faces a potential death sentence if convicted. The twin bombings near the finish line of the marathon killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Tsarnaev's lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on the newly released documents. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz also declined to comment.

During his arraignment last month, Tsarnaev's jaw appeared injured, and his left eye and cheek were still swollen. He wore a cast covering his left forearm, hand and fingers for the seven-minute proceeding that marked his first appearance in public since his capture.

Odom said Tsarnaev, who was in the hospital's intensive care unit at the time of his first legal proceeding, was aware of where he was and knew that he has had multiple medical procedures.

“He knows that he has an injury to the neck and to the hand,” Odom said.

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