News Column

Accused Bomber's Friends Plead Not Guilty

August 13, 2013
Friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to interfering with the investigation.
Friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to interfering with the investigation.

The college buddies of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are being held without bail after both pleaded not guilty today to charges they interfered with the federal probe into the April 15 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Kazakhstan nationals Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the bombing investigation.

In a brief hearing this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Boston, the pair, both 19, were shackled and wearing bright orange Essex County jumpsuits. After silently acknowledging their families in the courtroom, they stood before Judge Marianne Bowler and quietly entered their not guilty pleas.

Prosecutors have alleged Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov went to Tsarnaev's college dorm room days after the gruesome double bombings, and took his laptop computer and a backpack that contained fireworks. Kadyrbayev later threw the items in a dumpster with Tazhayakov's agreement, prosecutors charge.

Prosecutors today said they anticipate a two-week trial, and will call 15 to 20 witnesses. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are due back in court Sept. 26 for a pre-trial hearing.

The April 15 attack killed three people and wounded more than 260. Authorities say Tsarnaev orchestrated the attack with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a subsequent police shootout.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov attended UMass Dartmouth with Tsarnaev, and lived in New Bedford.

The men have been in custody since their May 1 arrest.

If convicted, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to 25 years in prison, and possible deportation.

A third man, Robel Phillipos, who was arrested around the same time as the Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, was not part of today's arraignment.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, also 19, has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

Martin Richard, 8; Krystle Marie Campbell, 29; and Lingzi Lu, 23 were killed by the pressure cooker bombs that exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line.

Authorities say the Tsarnaev brothers later killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier.

Source: (c)2013 the Boston Herald Distributed by MCT Information Services

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