April 20, 2013

Brothers showed vastly different personas

Acquaintances remember Tamerlan Tsarnaev as brash; Dzhokhar seemed respectful.

By ALLEN G. BREED, ERIC TUCKER and JEFF DONN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, wearing a white hat, stands next to Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the Boston Marathon in a picture taken 10 to 20 minutes before the blasts that killed three spectators.

The Associated Press

Related headlines

For complete coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt, click here.

She said the mother also expressed some rather strident views about the U.S. government. But it was difficult to know who was influencing whom in the household.

"During this facial session she started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me that she thought 9-11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate Muslims," Alyssa Kilzer wrote. "'It's real,' she said. 'My son knows all about it. You can read on the internet.' "

Kilzer didn't say to which son the mother was referring. Kilzer, who is studying in Scotland, could not immediately be reached.

Tsarni told The Associated Press from his home in Maryland that a deep rift opened between him and his sister-in-law, but that he tried to maintain a relationship with the boys. However, that effort began to fall apart several years ago, he said, when Tamerlan "started carrying all this nonsense associated with religion, with Islamic religion."

When he asked his older nephew why he wasn't in school, he said Tamerlan gave an enigmatic answer. "Oh, I'm in God's business," the young man replied.

Tamerlan would throw out foreign words like "jihad" and "Inshallah" -- Arabic for "God willing" -- without really understanding their meaning, he said. Though Tsarni is himself Muslim, he said he does not worship at a mosque. The uncle was surprised when he learned that Tamerlan had gotten married to an American woman -- a "good Christian family girl," who his nephew said was about to convert to Islam.

While his older brother was railing about religion and world politics, Dzhokhar seemed more interested in the HBO series "Game of Thrones" and other television shows.

"Breaking Bad taught me how to dispose of a corpse," he tweeted on Jan. 16, referring to the popular AMC series about a dying chemistry teacher who turns to cooking methamphetamine to leave a nest egg for his family.

He did tweet about religion, but they were hardly the words of a hard-core zealot.

"This night deserves Hennessy a bad b---- and an o of weed," he wrote on Nov. 17. "the holy trinity"

On Nov. 29, he wrote: "I kind of like religious debates, just hearing what other people believe is interesting and then crushing their beliefs with facts is fun." And on Jan. 15: "I don't argue with fools who say Islam is terrorism it's not worth a thing, let an idiot remain an idiot."

Fox, the criminologist, said it's not unheard of for the younger person in a crime team to be the dominant personality. But he said it's rare.

"In this case, the older brother is the one that seems to have become religious and drawn to Islam," Fox said. "The older brother dropped out of school ... whereas the younger brother, it was all positives."

But, he said, "the age factor is critical here."

Tamerlan once said he had no American friends. His brother had lots of them, but fellow students at UMass-Dartmouth say he had increasingly taken to hanging out with other Russians.

If Tamerlan recorded his thoughts, they have not yet surfaced -- at least publicly. His bother left a trail on the Internet, although in an Aug. 7, 2012 tweet, he called himself a "heavy sleeper and a great liar"

In March, Dzhokhar tweeted: "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing." A week and a half earlier, he reminded his followers, "Never underestimate the rebel with a cause."

The day of the bombing, he wrote: "There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don't hear them cuz they're the minority"

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)