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Federal investigators return Boylston Street to city of Boston

CNN News Service | 4/22/2013, 2:15 p.m.

BOSTON, Mass. -- Federal authorities handed control of the Boston thoroughfare that became a corridor of blood-spattered horror back to the city Monday evening after spending a week combing it for evidence.

A police honor guard, accompanied by a bagpiper, lowered the flag that had flown at the finish line of last week's Boston Marathon and presented it to Mayor Thomas Menino to mark the occasion. But while the blocks around the bomb sites have been returned to municipal control, they remain closed to the public while Boston officials clean up the area and make sure the buildings are safe to occupy.

"This area will be opened up to businesses over the next few hours, and then the people will be back here in a day or so," Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. "And they will be walking up and down this street, and the terrorists will understand that they can not keep us down."

Shortly afterward, workers in bright yellow suits began hosing down and scrubbing the sidewalks around the second bomb site.

Earlier, hundreds of people gathered down the street for a moment of silence to honor the three people killed and more than 170 wounded when a pair of bombs went off about a block apart. And in a hospital less than two miles away, the man accused of unleashing that terror faced federal charges that could bring a possible death sentence.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, the Justice Department announced Monday. The 19-year-old was "alert, mentally competent and lucid," U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler found during the brief initial court appearance that took place in Tsarnaev's hospital room.

Tsarnaev was shot several times before his arrest Friday night and was heavily sedated an on a ventilator at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. During the hearing, he communicated mostly by nodding his head, though he once answered "No" when Bowler asked him if he could afford a lawyer, according to a transcript of the proceeding. A public defender was appointed to represent him.

Investigators have been asking Tsarnaev whether there are more bombs, explosives caches or weapons beyond those already found by police, and if anyone else was involved in the attacks, a source with first-hand knowledge of the investigation told CNN. Investigators are going into Tsarnaev's room every few hours to ask questions in the presence of doctors, the source said.

It wasn't immediately clear what specifically he might be communicating.

Federal agents at first questioned Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights, under an exception to the rule invoked when authorities believe there is an imminent public safety threat, a Justice Department official said over the weekend. But by the time of the hospital room proceeding, government sources said he had been read his rights, and Bowler reviewed those with him again Monday.

Bowler scheduled a probable cause hearing for May 30.