NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 14, 2013

Marathon bombing suspect's pals plead not guilty

BOSTON — Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty Friday to charges they hindered the investigation into the deadly attack.

Authorities allege that the friends went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth three days after the bombings, soon after the FBI posted photographs of the two bombing suspects, Tsarnaev and his older brother. The friends are accused in an indictment of removing several items from the room, including Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks.

One friend, Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge, was indicted last month on two counts of lying to authorities while he was being questioned. His lawyers declined to comment after the brief arraignment in U.S. District Court but said in a statement that Phillipos “had nothing to do whatsoever with the Boston Marathon bombing or destroying any evidence.”

“In the end, it will be clear that this prosecution should never have been brought in the first place,” attorneys Derege Demissie and Susan Church said in the statement.

Authorities allege that Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, ethnic Chechens from Russia, planned and carried out twin bombings near the finish of the marathon on April 15. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police as authorities closed in on the brothers several days after the bombings.

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakhstan nationals, are both charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

All four men attended the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Robert Stahl, an attorney for Kadyrbayev, said his client was “shocked and horrified” by the bombings and had “no intent” to obstruct justice.

“I’m saying he didn’t dispose of evidence, didn’t understand it was evidence, and the rest will come out at trial,” Stahl told reporters after the arraignment.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Special Features