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.