May 2, 2013

Three accused of trying to protect Boston bomb suspect

The 19-year-olds were not accused of any role in the bombing itself, but he did tell two of them he knew how to make a bomb, according to the FBI.

The Associated Press

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This photo released by the U.S. Attorney's Office shows fireworks that a complaint says were recovered from inside a backpack belonging to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaeva. The backpack was found in a landfill in New Bedford, Mass.

The Associated Press/U.S. Attorney's Office

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A Department of Homeland Security officer patrols with his dog outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, Mass., on Wednesday. Three additional suspects were taken into custody in the Boston Marathon bombing case.

The Associated Press

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It was not clear from the court papers whether authorities believe that was an instruction from Tsarnaev to destroy evidence.

Once inside Tsarnaev's room, the men noticed a backpack containing fireworks, which had been opened and emptied of gunpowder, the FBI said. The FBI said that Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombings and decided to remove the backpack "in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble."

Kadyrbayev also decided to remove Tsarnaev's laptop "because he did not want Tsarnaev's roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack," the FBI said.

After the three returned to Kadyrbayev's and Tazhayakov's apartment with the backpack and computer, they watched news reports featuring photographs of Tsarnaev. The FBI said Kadyrbayev told authorities the three men then "collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble."

Kadyrbayev said he placed the backpack and fireworks along with trash from the apartment into a large trash bag and threw it into a garbage bin near the men's apartment, according to court papers.

When the backpack was later found, inside it was a UMass-Dartmouth homework assignment sheet from a class Tsarnaev was taking, the FBI said.

The court papers do not say what happened to the laptop.

In a footnote, the FBI said: "Tazhayakov also informed the FBI agents that while eating a meal with Dzhokhar and Kadrybayev approximately one month prior to the marathon bombing, Dzhokhar had explained to Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov that he knew how to make a bomb."

Robert Stahl, an attorney for Kadyrbayev, said his client "absolutely denies the charges" and didn't know that the backpack and fireworks were part of the bombing case. Kadyrbayev is "just as shocked and horrified by the violence in Boston that took place as the rest of the community is," the lawyer said.

He also denied that Kadyrbayev instantly recognized Tsarnaev's photo, saying: "His first inkling came much later."

Tazhayakov's lawyer, Harlan Protass, said Tazhayakov "feels horrible and was shocked to hear that someone he knew at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth was involved with the Boston Marathon bombing."

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov lived at an off-campus apartment in New Bedford, about 60 miles south of Boston, and got around in a car registered to Kadyrbayev with a souvenir plate that read "Terrorista (hash)1." The car was pictured on Tsarnaev's Twitter feed in March.

The plate was a gag gift from some of Kadyrbayev's friends, meant to invoke his penchant for late-night partying rather than his political sentiments, Kadyrbayev's lawyer said last week.

Michael McKeown, 20, attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School with Tsarnaev and Phillipos.

"He wasn't a stupid kid," the Boston University sophomore said of Phillipos. "I'm surprised he would do something this foolish."

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This combination of photos show Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.

The Associated Press

  


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