As 19-year-old Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits trial, a legion of Americans -- often teenage girls -- has been furiously filling the Internet with fan club sites and support groups.
Alisha, a blond, blue-eyed 18-year-old from Topeka, Kan., is one of these Tsarnaev's "fans." Using her Twitter handle @keepitbluntedd, Alisha has been questioning the government's case against the younger Tsarnaev brother.
In an interview with the New York Post, Alisha even said she was planning on getting a quote of the teen (“If you have the knowledge and the inspiration all that’s left is to take action”) tattooed on her upper arm.
“He was just this pothead 19-year-old boy who didn’t care,” she told The Post. “I don’t see it.”
Although Alisha has decided not to get the tattoo, she has not backed down from her support for Tsarnaev. And she is far from alone.
Using the hashtag #freejahar, as well as handles -- like @FreeJaha, @Fighting4Jahar or @PrayForJaharr -- that contain Tsarnaev's nickname, the suspect's supporters are easy to find online.
There are also multiple Facebook pages, such as the "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Free Jahar movement," which currently boasts 6,600 members. Many of these pages express similar sentiments to those expressed in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Free Jahar movement's "About" section:
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a young man of 19 years of age's life has been stolen and has been made into a public object of hate, created by the inaccurate reports by the media. We believe in innocent until proven guilty by undeniable evidence, which so far has not been provided.
According to Yahoo! Shine, fans have made bracelets, and the phrase "too pretty to be guilty" is becoming a common refrain.
Yahoo! spoke to several psychologists, who said Tsarnaev's appeal may stem from the myth of the "bad boy" or from a deeper motive: fame.
“It’s not that he’s a bomb suspect, it’s that he’s notorious,” Sheila Isenberg, author of “Women Who Love Men Who Kill,” told the site. “A lot are going to say, ‘I just want to make sure he gets a fair trial, but that’s really window dressing for their inherent need to get famous themselves.”
“Similar to the fascination teen girls have with vampire characters in movies and books, dark characters are a way to forge a separate identity and to defiantly (or rebelliously) declare oneself as independent of authority figures,” psychologist Jill Weber noted. “Some of this is normal teen development, but being drawn to a criminal is a dysfunctional way to forge independence.”
ABC News adds that this phenomenon is not limited to "cute" teenage suspects, either.
Luka Magnotta, the so-called "Cannibal killer," has a devoted female fan base as well, the outlet reports. Accused Aurora shooter James Holmes had a legion of fan girls all his own, including Aurora, Colo., resident Misty Benjamin, who told reporters she was "physically attracted" to Holmes.
"When I get upset, I look at his picture and I calm down," she said at the time.
Of course, social media only throws fuel on the fire, giving teens in particular an accepting, somewhat anonymous community to express their beliefs.