A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a naive college kid who was prosecuted because he was a “friend of the bomber,” a defense lawyer said Wednesday, while prosecutors told a jury the man was an active participant in a plan to protect Tsarnaev by removing altered fireworks and other items from his dorm room. The descriptions came during closing arguments in the first trial stemming from the April 15, 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured over 260 others. Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, is charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy.
The jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon. Earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin said Tazhayakov knew Tsarnaev was a bombing suspect after he and other friends saw photos and video of Tsarnaev released by the FBI on April 18, 2013. Hours later, Capin said, Tazhayakov and two other friends went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth after Tsarnaev sent one of the friends a text message telling them they could go to his room and "take what’s there." But Tazhayakov’s lawyer, Matthew Myers, said his client had sat passively watching a movie in Tsarnaev’s dorm room when one of the other friends removed Tsarnaev’s backpack. Tazhayakov faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The other friends will be tried separately.
— The Associated Press
First published July 16 2014, 12:58 PM