Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
In this Sunday, April 21, 2013 photo, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, center, wife of killed Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, exits a car at the home of her parents in North Kingstown, R.I. At left is her father, Warren Russell. Federal authorities have asked to speak with her, and her lawyer said he is discussing with them how to proceed. (AP Photo/Katie Zezima)
Tsarnaeva knew nothing about Islam when they met, said her lawyer, adding he didn't know if marriage was a motivating factor in her conversion. The reason was that she is a believer, he said.
"She believes in the tenets of Islam and of the Quran," DeLuca said. "She believes in God."
The couple got married on June 21, 2010, a Monday, in a ceremony performed by Imam Taalib Mahdee, of Masjid al Qur'aan, in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, according to their marriage certificate, which lists his profession as a driver.
The couple had a daughter and lived with her in the Tsarnaev family apartment, which was shared over the years with his mother, Zubeidat, and father, Anzor, now divorced, and Dzhokhar, DeLuca said. He said Tsarnaeva rarely saw her brother-in-law there because he was living in the dorms at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev's relatives have said that in recent years he became a devout Muslim and prayed five times a day. DeLuca said the couple attended the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, although the mosque's executive assistant, Nichole Mossalam, said that Tsarnaeva had never been there to her knowledge.
Leaders at the mosque say Tamerlan Tsarnaev did attend and in recent months had outbursts during two sermons that encouraged Muslims to celebrate American institutions such as the Fourth of July and figures including Martin Luther King Jr.
Last year, Tsarnaev traveled to Russia for about six months, while his wife stayed in their Cambridge apartment. His aunt said he spoke with his wife every day using Skype and at times she would instruct him on how to observe religious practices correctly when he lapsed.
Tsarnaeva's lawyer said she had no reason to suspect her husband of anything and was focused on supporting her family, working 70 to 80 hours, seven days a week as a home health care aide. Her husband cared for their daughter when she was away, Deluca said.
But Anne Kilzer, a Belmont, Mass., resident who went with her daughters to the Tsarnaev home to get facials from Tamerlan Tsarnaev's mother, said when she visited the apartment Tsarnaeva was always there with the baby and her mother-in-law.
Kilzer, who had not been to the home since around Labor Day, when the mother told her she was leaving the country, described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as surly and intimidating and painted his wife as cowed and intimidated by him.
"She was a very sweet woman, but I think kind of brainwashed by him," she said.
She said Tsarnaeva seemed lonely and would bring out the baby for her to hold when she visited.
The apartment was so cramped and crowded, Kilzer said, that it would have been difficult for Tsarnaev to hide criminal activity from his wife.
"Maybe she'll provide answers for all of us," she said.
Federal authorities have asked to interview Tsarnaeva, and DeLuca said he is discussing with them how to proceed.
DeLuca would not provide details on what his client told him her husband was doing in the days before and after the April 15 bombing but said as far as he knew nothing seemed amiss to her in the days after.
Tsarnaev was home when his wife left for work the last day he was alive, DeLuca said. Police say he was run over by a car driven by his brother as he fled gunfire early Friday morning. His brother was captured later that night, wounded and bloody, in Watertown, 10 miles west of Boston; his lawyer has declined to comment.
DeLuca said she learned of her husband was suspected of being responsible for bombing the Boston Marathon the same way a lot of other people did: on TV.