Boston Bomber’s Friend Found Guilty of Interfering With Investigation

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16 Jul 2014, Boston, Massachusetts, USA --- FILE - In this May 13, 2014 file courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston. Tazhayakov, of Kazakhstan, is accused with another friend of removing items from Tsarnaev's dorm room, but is not charged with participating in the bombing or knowing about it in advance. The jury began deliberating in the case Wednesday, July 16, 2014, after closing arguments in the first trial related to the 2013 bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins, File) --- Image by ? Jane Flavell Collins/AP/Corbis
Photo: Jane Flavell Collins/AP/Corbis

The first trial related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing has ended with a guilty verdict for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's college friend Azamat Tazhayakov. According to prosecutors, 20-year-old Tazhayakov and another classmate, Dias Kadyrbayev (who will be tried separately), removed items from Tsarnaev's University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room three days after the attack, despite knowing that their buddy had probably been involved in it. (The young men had seen photos of Tsarnaev at the scene of the bombing, and he sent Kadyrbayev a text message instructing him to "go to my room and take what’s there.")

Meanwhile, Tazhayakov's legal team argued that he only "sat passively in a chair" while Kadyrbayev gathered Tsarnaev's backpack and laptop (along with a bag of weed). They also blamed Kadyrbayev for throwing the backpack into a dumpster just hours before the Tsarnaev brothers shot and killed MIT police officer Sean Collier and led the cops on a violent chase through the streets of Watertown.

"If you want to find a conspiracy you probably can, because you’re letting the enormity of what happened in this town affect you," said one of the defense lawyers. "The reality is, college kids think differently." Still, the jury convicted Tazhayakov of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, having apparently decided that even a freaked-out college kid should have known better than to mess around with that kind of evidence.