A friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty Monday of obstruction of justice for interfering with the FBI's investigation into the latter's possible involvement in the 2013 terrorist attack. A jury found the friend, Azamat Tazhayakov, guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for removing a backpack containing fireworks shells from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth three days after the attack. The Kazakh exchange student was found not guilty of similar charges involving a laptop computer. Tazhayakov could face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and up to five years on the conspiracy count when he is sentenced on Oct. 16.
Two other friends of Tsarnaev -- Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts -– also were involved in the removal of the evidence after they recognized Tsarnaev in photos of the suspected bombers distributed by the FBI, according to prosecutors. Kadyrbayev faces trial on the same charges as Tazhayakov later this year, while Phillipos faces a lesser charge of lying to authorities.
-- Pete Williams and Tom Winter
First published July 21 2014, 10:35 AM