Friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect found guilty

July 21, 2014

A courtroom sketch of Azamat Tazhayakov, left. (Jane Flavell Collins/AP)

More than a year after the Boston Marathon bombings, the first of multiple trials related to the case has resulted in a guilty verdict.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, were charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy for going into Tsarnaev’s room and removing evidence.

Prosecutors said that Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev took a backpack, fireworks and laptop from Tsarnaev’s room after the bombing — and after the FBI had released pictures of Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, and announced that they were the suspects. Tazhayakov’s trial was the first stemming from the bombing, with others are set to take place later this year.

Tazhayakov was found guilty on Monday afternoon of removing Tsarnaev’s backpack but not guilty of removing the laptop. (Prsoecutors had said that Kadyrbayev was the one who threw out the backpack, but they also said that Tazhayakov was aware of this.)

His sentencing will take place on Oct. 16, said the office of Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. Tazhayakov faces up to 20 years in prison.

A U.S. jury on Monday found Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber, guilty of obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts by removing a backpack containing fireworks shells from the suspect's dorm room. (Reuters)

He and Kadyrbayev were indicted by a federal grand jury last year. Kadyrbayev faces trial on the same charges as Tazhayakov. His case is scheduled to begin in September before the same judge and in the same courtroom, according to the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts. (Another friend, Robel Phillipos, faces a trial later that month for lying to authorities.)

Tsarnaev’s trial is scheduled to begin in November. The Justice Department said that it will seek the death penalty.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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