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Friends of bombing suspect accused of cover-up

By Bridget Murphy & Denise Lavoie

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:05 p.m. HST, May 01, 2013

BOSTON » Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused today of removing a backpack containing hollowed-out fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room three days after the attack to keep him from getting into trouble.

In court papers, the FBI said one of them threw the backpack in the garbage — it was later found in a landfill by law enforcement officers — after the young men concluded from news reports that Tsarnaev was one of the bombers.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19-year-olds from Kazakhstan, were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by concealing and destroying evidence. Robel Phillipos, 19, who graduated from the prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School with Tsarnaev, was charged with lying to investigators about the visit to Tsarnaev's room.

The three were not accused of any involvement in the bombing itself. But in a footnote in the court papers outlining the charges, the FBI said that about a month before the bombing, Tsarnaev told Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev that he knew how to make a bomb.

The lawyers for the Kazakh students said their clients had nothing to do with the bombing and were just as shocked by the crime as everyone else. Phillipos' attorney, Derege Demissie, said outside court: "The only allegation is he made a misrepresentation."

At a court appearance in the afternoon, the Kazakh students did not request bail and will be held for another hearing May 14. Phillipos was held for a hearing on Monday.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured on April 15 when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police days later. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, was captured and lies in a prison hospital.

Investigators have not said whether the pressure cooker bombs used in the attacks were made with gunpowder extracted from fireworks.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev have been held in jail for more than a week on allegations they violated their student visas by not regularly going to class at UMass. All three men charged Wednesday began attending UMass with Tsarnaev in 2011, according to the FBI.

If convicted, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum of eight years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities allege that on the night of April 18, after the FBI released surveillance-camera photos of the bombing suspects and the three men suspected their friend was one of them, they went to Tsarnaev's dorm room.

Before Tsarnaev's roommate let them in, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov a text message from Tsarnaev that read: "I'm about to leave if you need something in my room take it," according to the FBI. When Tazhayakov learned of the message, "he believed he would never see Tsarnaev alive again," the FBI said in the affidavit.

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

Once inside Tsarnaev's room, the men noticed a backpack containing fireworks, which had been opened and emptied of powder, the FBI said.

The FBI said that Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombings and decided to remove the backpack from the room "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 in court papers.

After the three men returned to Kadyrbayev's and Tazhayakov's apartment with the backpack and computer, they watched news reports featuring photographs of Tsarnaev.

The FBI affidavit 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.

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

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, a lawyer for Kadyrbayev said last week.

Michael McKeown, 20, went to high school with Dzhokjar and Phillipos and served with Phillipos on the Cambridge Kids' Council.

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

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C., Michelle R. Smith in Providence, R.I.; and Rodrique Ngowi in Boston.

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manakuke wrote:
Accomplices in mass murder.
on May 1,2013 | 06:16AM
RichardCory wrote:
Mmmm... why can't hold all these delicious peanuts in this gallery?
on May 1,2013 | 06:19AM
boshio wrote:
Great job FBI and the Boston police. Get to the bottom of this tragedy quickly. Hope that the incompetant Graham and Paul in congress would stop the negative comments against the investigation.
on May 1,2013 | 06:36AM
localguy wrote:
boshio - Great Job? Hello, they blew the first suspect, completely wrong, they knew it. Then to make it worse they do not want to admit they screwed up. Failure to admit failure means incompetence at all levels. What was the FBI thinking?
on May 1,2013 | 01:15PM
lynnh wrote:
Do you even know what you are talking about? Have you even watched the news? And I don't mean MSNBC.
on May 2,2013 | 12:16AM
kahuku01 wrote:
What local guy is saying is that they (news media) blew the first suspect completely wrong as the news media does and if I heard correctly, while listening to the news as it unfolded, it was mentioned (CNN) that they only knew that the suspects will dark skin. Speculating and providing wrong information and not admitting error is poor journalism and as such, people cannot believe the news media because they're always wanting to be the first with breaking news and usually with wrong information.
on May 2,2013 | 04:40AM
false wrote:
Maybe revenge for Osama bin Laden. Eye for an eye will never get it done. I wonder what made Osama bin Laden go into creating his al-Qaeda ? It appears that bin Laden went into all out terrorist mode after the US bombings of Iraq, after Saddam invaded Kuwait. Or is there more to this story? For one, the USA is protecting its oil interest in the mideast, however for one man, Osama bin Laden, of Saudi Arabian origin, to create a crusade against the West, is unimaginable. bin Laden is gone, however terrorism is still alive and well. Everything that terrorism is against in the West, is alive and well, and therefore terrorism will continue. Unfortunate times that we live in, however for every Donald Trump, there are a million roaches in this world.
on May 1,2013 | 06:45AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev is not a suspect. He was a perp who died in a shootout with the police. His body should be dragged behind a team of pigs down the last mile of the marathon route and the spectacle broadcast world wide so that those pesky jihaddi radicals will take notice that the reward isn't 72 or 3 virgins, but desecration, ridicule and inhumane (by their value poll) treatment of their remains and a generation long stain of shame on their families.
on May 1,2013 | 08:33AM
daniwitz13 wrote:
They should do the same to all the killers that order killings by Drones in other Countries. More people are killed by that method than pressure cookers. Pity.
on May 1,2013 | 10:38AM
Pacej001 wrote:
I believe that would be President Obama. Yes?
on May 1,2013 | 02:41PM
lynnh wrote:
And I believe the people those drones kill deserve to die!
on May 2,2013 | 12:17AM
inverse wrote:
What difference will that make, the guy is dead and it doesn't matter to him what they do to his body. HOWEVER what the Israelis have done recently with palestinian suicide bombers killing Israelis is to target where the suicide bomber's house with missiles. This in effect kills some or all of the suicide bomber's family. If the home location is unknown Isreali will still send missiles into Palestinian terriotry killing Palestinians, usually greater than the number of Isreali's killed. Whether you agree with this or not, appears it has a postivie effect on greatly reducing the number of palestinian suicide bomb attacks or random missile attacks. A similar strategy would not be appropriate for boston bombers however not surprising the suicide bombers parents remain in Russia and will not return to the US. I am sure some vigilante would attempt street justice for the bombers family. However my understanding his the bombers uncle/aunt were the ones who turned in the bombers to the FBI and have completey denounced what they did so no one should seek revenge on the uncle and aunt and their family
on May 1,2013 | 10:42AM
Pookie_Baby wrote:
I like it
on May 1,2013 | 01:23PM
Fred01 wrote:
Kazakhstan greatest country in the world. All other countries are run by little girls
on May 1,2013 | 10:12AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The mouth will always get you into trouble.
on May 1,2013 | 01:01PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Most criminals have a ego problem. They have to tell some one to get that big head feelling.
on May 1,2013 | 01:02PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
One thing that The United States of America does well is to accuse people of crimes and to a good extent prosecute. In no other country is there such widespread distribution and usage of guns for the masses as in the USA. Therefore it is unfortunate that the terroristic world sees the USA as the gorilla in the room and that they feel that they must cut us down to size. No matter what differences there are in philosophies, the terroristic world will always be against the free world, and Osama bin Laden made sure of that before he was caught. Now the momentum is on the sides of the terrorists as they feel that the only way they can fight the big guy in D.C. is to terrorize the USA and all its allies all over the world. It is very unfortunate that a mentally challenged person such as Osama bin Laden ever came into existence, however our fight for basic human rights that Jimmy Carter so emboldened during his presidency, must continue to go on and on and on, because do we Bomb all counties out of existence with Nukes?? Hardly not, because some sympathetic country such as North Korea will start World War III by launching their own retaliatory Nuke. Unfortunate that in this day and age of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, that we still have to deal with the roaches that we call terrorists. That is a fact of life until The Middle East runs out of oil and in the USA, we could utilize our abundant Natural Gas and Shale Oil, to power our Next Generation. Perhaps it will be a much better life on Mars than it will be in the future Earth, as the science fiction movie Oblivion has depicted. Then again movies such as 56up are great in that documentaries such as those highlight how difficult it is to become an average successful person, no matter what walk of life one originates from. Oh my gosh, I am attempting to create the longest single paragraph these HSA forums has ever seen and that I hope my Internet connection does not go out, and or my power does not dim. Anyway we need to remember that Dr. Neil Abercombie is a holder of a PhD, and yes we call those people doctors also, when we are fortunate enough to have been enrolled in Graduate School, no matter what the subject matter. One thing OldDiver does not have is the patience to write very long tomes, I know that for sure. I end with this: USA USA USA USA !!! and I hope my comment does not get sent for approval !!
on May 1,2013 | 02:15PM
Anonymous wrote:
on May 1,2013 | 02:19PM
sayer wrote:
These guys did not have a lot of smarts thinking their tracks would not be uncovered by the FBI after the fact.
on May 1,2013 | 02:57PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Crimes are committed almost at the rate people are born, like once every 5 minutes? If one makes themselves available to a crime, then one more than likely becomes a victim. That is crime in general. This type of Boston terrorist activity goes beyond normal, as it is almost like a world changing event, like the shooting that started World War I. President Obama will not bomb out of existence countries that are suspected of harboring terrorists such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, because what would that accomplish? Zilch.
on May 1,2013 | 04:05PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Thanks to Obama and the ACLU, these immigrant dregs will probably just get a slap on the hand and be given probation and be told to act like good u.s. citizens and stay out of trouble for the next one month....typical liberal justice system.
on May 1,2013 | 04:20PM
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