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Three men charged in Boston bombing probe

Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, is seen with Azamat Tazhayakov, left, and Dias Kadyrbayev in an undated photo taken in New York.

Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, is seen with Azamat Tazhayakov, left, and Dias Kadyrbayev in an undated photo taken in New York.

BOSTON — U.S. authorities on Wednesday charged three men with interfering with the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing, saying they hid fireworks and a backpack belonging to one of the suspected bombers as a manhunt was under way.

The three, two students from Kazakhstan and a U.S. citizen, were described as college friends of surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. They were not charged with direct involvement in the April 15 marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured 264.

But three days after the blasts, the trio moved swiftly to cover up for their friend when the FBI released pictures of the suspected bombers, made a public plea for help locating them and conducted a day-long manhunt that left much of Boston on lockdown, according to court papers.

Authorities charged the two Kazakhs, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19, with conspiring to obstruct justice by disposing of a backpack containing fireworks they found in Tsarnaev’s dorm room. The third man, Robel Phillipos, also 19, was charged with making false statements to investigators.

In their initial court appearances on Wednesday, none of the three entered a plea. After the proceeding, an attorney for Kadyrbayev denied wrongdoing.

“Dias Kadyrbayev absolutely denies the charges,” said attorney Robert Stahl. “He did not know that this individual was involved in the bombing. His first inkling came much later.”

Tsarnaev, who attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, is being held at a prison hospital where he is recovering from wounds sustained in a gun battle with police. His older brother, Tamerlan, died in the gunfight.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to five years in prison and Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of eight years.

Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos were placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after prosecutor Stephanie Siegmann argued that all three presented a “serious risk of flight.”

None of the suspects addressed the court, other than to respond to the judge’s questions. U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler reprimanded Phillipos for not seeming to pay attention to the proceedings.

“I suggest you pay attention to me rather than looking down,” Bowler said.

The three suspects’ attorneys said their clients were shocked by the attacks.

“My client, Azamat Tazhayakov, feels horrible and was shocked to hear that someone that he knew ... at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth was involved with the Boston Marathon bombing,” attorney Harlan Protass said.

Phillipos’ attorney, Derege Demissie, said that his client had not assisted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. As to the charge of making false statements, he said, “We look forward to litigating that in court.”

COVER-UP ALLEGATION

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov had entered the United States on student visas and lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts, according to the court papers. Phillipos is a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A month prior to the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov over a meal that he knew how make a bomb, Tazhayakov told the FBI, according to the documents.

On April 18, three days after the bombings, authorities released pictures of two men they identified as the suspects in the attack. Investigators at the time said they did not know the suspects’ names and called on the public for help in identifying them.

Dzhokhar’s three classmates quickly figured out their friend was one of the suspects, according to court papers. After seeing Tsarnaev’s photo in TV news reports, Kadyrbayev texted him to say that he resembled the suspect, according to the complaint.

Tsarnaev’s response included the phrase “lol” and “you better not text me,” as well as “come to my room and take whatever you want,” according to the court papers.

The three went to his dorm room that night and found a roommate who said that Dzhokhar had left.

The trio spent some time watching movies and then discovered an emptied-out fireworks tube, according to court papers. That discovery scared Tazhayakov, who then began to believe that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombing, according to court papers.

They decided to remove the backpack, fireworks and a laptop to help their friend “avoid trouble,” according to court papers.

Tazhayakov is currently enrolled at UMass Dartmouth but has been suspended, the university said on Wednesday. Kadyrbayev and Phillipos are not currently enrolled in the school.

After waking up the next morning to learn that police were hunting for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and that his brother, Tamerlan, was dead, Kadyrbayev decided to throw away the backpack with the fireworks tubes inside, according to court papers. He put the backpack and fireworks in a dumpster near his apartment.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were arrested on immigration violations on April 20.

Investigators recovered the backpack on April 26 in a New Bedford landfill. In addition to the fireworks, it included a homework assignment sheet from a class that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was enrolled in.

In his first three interviews with police, Phillipos denied having gone to Tsarnaev’s room on April 18, but in a fourth interrogation, on April 26, he confessed to the visit, the court documents said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces the possibility of execution if he is convicted of setting off the homemade pressure-cooker bombs in a crowd of tens of thousands of spectators at one of Boston’s best-attended sporting events.

Comments

MRKIA 11 months, 3 weeks ago

WHERE ARE ALL THESE SLAVIC HILLBILLY CRIMINALS COME FROM?

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Criminals? Yes. Slavic? Not hardly. Are you thinking of Czech or Slovakia? The two bombers are from Chechnya which is across the Black Sea just above Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Middle East. Hillbilly? These folks somehow wedeled their way into some high class academic settings in high school and college. The younger one behaved like a trust fund baby. I would like to know where the heck their money came from. The older one married a doctor's daughter but I read somewhere she and the daughter were on welfare. Hmm. The two foreign accomplices are from Kazakhstan in Asia.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Central Intelligence Agency's The World Factbook

Czech Republic: Roman Catholic 10.3%, Protestant (includes Czech Brethren and Hussite) 0.8%, other and unspecified 54.6%, none 34.2% (2011 census) (CR Info notes 38% identified as RC; .02% Islam . . . )

PS-“The Czech Republic is a secular state and every citizen enjoys freedom of religion. The number of people practising religion is low. More than 50% of the population describe themselves as agnostic or atheist while in northern Bohemia the proportion rises to about three quarters of the population." Hence the CIA's statistics.

Slovakia: “Roman Catholic 68.9%, Protestant 10.8%, Greek Catholic 4.1%, other or unspecified 3.2%, none 13% (2001 census)”

Kazakhstan : “ Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%”

It's really not accurate or fair to paint all the people in the countries with a single brush. Not to say the terrorists aren't radical Islamists. We have purdy lil white gurls from Albenny that live among the tribes working in the peace corps in some of these places that end in " . . . stan."

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I'd like to remind you all of you of my Prophetic Utterance from the DAY of the Boston Marathon bombing that it was some young Middle Easterners who were here living and going to school on the taxpayer dime.

The Herald has since taken it down but some of you will remember it.

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chinaberry25 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Folks we are in deep. If we do not pull up our big boy pants and protest all of this behavior our goose is cooked and we will not be celebrating Christmas much longer. During Ramadan you have to go 30 days without eating in the day time. That would kill me. One had a student visa, dropped out, left and was allowed back and never revoked his visa. If they have the money to flit back and forth to wherever, they can afford their tuition. I know folks who owe thousands of dollars in student loans and we educated Ben Laden. He probably paid for his, but still he was allowed over here. His brothers and sisters come and go like they own us. I still say the wife knows more. She may not be involved, but she is an idiot first to have married him, deadbeat that he was, and to become a Muslim. The bed was on fire when she laid on it.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

" . . . and we educated Ben Laden." When? Where? It's clear Osama bin Laden came to USA accompanied by his wife in 1978 to have his 2 year child treated and returned to his home immediately thereafter. I hope you'll reply that will be good reading.

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