There were new developments in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation Wednesday, as police announced they had three additional suspects in custody after the two bombings near the finish line of the marathon on April 15. The bombs killed three and injured more than 250 others.
Until Wednesday, police had named only two suspects: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed during an altercation with police on April 18, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who remains in a federal prison. Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
The three new suspects: Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos appeared in a Boston courtroom Wednesday to face charges.
Here is what is know about the men:
Dias Kadyrbayev: A friend of Tsarnaev, who was studying engineering at University of Massachusetts. A native of Kazakhstan, Kadyrbayev, 19, was in the United States on a student visa. He allegedly texted Tsarnaev when he saw images released by the FBI that looked like his friend. Tsarnaev’s response, according to a FBI affidavit that was unsealed: “Lol, you better not text me” and “Come to my room and take whatever you want.” According to the affidavit, Kadyrbayev entered Tsarnaev’s room, along with Tazhayakov and Phillipos. The affidavit alleges that he saw empty fireworks containers in a backpack when he went to Tsarnaev’s room and that he removed it, along with a laptop computer. He threw the fireworks and the bag in a garbage bin, the affidavit alleges. The information in this affidavit has yet to be proven in court.
A statement from the University of Massachusetts released Wednesday afternoon said Kadyrbayev was not enrolled as a student. The Boston Globe says that he was enrolled in 2011, but was expelled for having poor grades.
Kadyrbayev was charged with obstruction of justice on Wednesday. His lawyer, Robert Stahl, says his client is innocent. “He is just as shocked and horrified by the violence that took place in Boston as the rest of the community is,” Stahl told reporters Wednesday. “He did not have anything to do with it.”
If convicted, Kadyrbayev faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, reports The Boston Globe.
Azamat Tazhayakova: Another 19-year-old Kazakh friend of Tsarnaev, who also studying at University of Massachusetts on a student visa. He was roommates with Kadyrbayev and was also charged with obstruction of justice on Wednesday. A statement from the University of Massachusetts released Wednesday afternoon said that Tazhayakov was currently enrolled as a student, but he had been suspended pending the outcome of the trial.
Tazhayakov’s attorney, Harlan Protass, also spoke to reporters, saying that his client “feels horrible and was shocked ?to hear that someone he knows” is a suspect in the bombing.
Prior to these charges, both men were in jail for nearly a week, as authorities said they had violated their student visas. Neither Kadyrbayev nor Tazhayakova requested bail and they will remain in custody until their next hearing on May 14, reports The Associated Press.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, reports The Boston Globe.
Robel Phillipos: Graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in 2011, in the same class as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Phillipos, 19, was also attending college at University of Massachusetts and is a resident of Cambridge, Mass. He was charged with making false statements to law enforcement officials in a terrorism investigation on Wednesday. A release from University of Massachusetts Wednesday afternoon said Phillipos was not currently enrolled. The Boston Globe reports that he withdrew after the fall semester for unknown reasons.
If convicted, he faces a maximum of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine, reports The Boston Globe.