Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told his
friends about martyrdom and bomb-building over lunch before the
attacks last year, an FBI agent testified in the trial of one
of the friends for obstruction.
Azamat Tazhayakov is the first of Tsarnaev's friends to face
trial. He is charged with removing evidence from Tsarnaev's
room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and
throwing away a backpack containing fireworks casings as the
FBI searched for the suspect, who is accused of killing three
people and injuring 264 in the April 2013 bombings.
FBI Special Agent Timothy Quinn said Tazhayakov told him that
Tsarnaev had discussed martyrdom and his knowledge of bomb
building during a conversation over lunch with Tazhayakov and
his roommate and fellow Kazakh exchange student Dias
Kadyrbayev before spring break last year.
"Dzhokhar had explained that people who die in an act of
martyrdom die with a smile on their face and go straight to
heaven," said Quinn, who interviewed Tazhayakov in the days
after the alleged visit to Tsarnaev's room.
"He also explained that during the same conversation,
Dzhokhar said he knew how to build bombs" because he had
taken chemistry classes, Quinn testified.
Tsarnaev was captured in the days after the bombing and is
awaiting trial, but his older brother Tamerlan, also a
suspect in the bombing, was killed following a shoot-out with
On Thursday (local time), another FBI agent, Farbod Azad,
testified that Tazhayakov told him he and Kadyrbayev, and a
third man, Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, had
removed the backpack and a laptop from Tsarnaev's dorm room.
Azad questioned Tazhayakov after the three were ordered out
of their New Bedford, Massachusetts, apartment by heavily
armed agents. Tazhayakov's attorneys have argued their
client's statements during that interview should not be
admitted at trial because he had not believed he was free to
go at the time.
Tazhayakov could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted
of obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Kadyrbayev faces
the same charges. Phillipos is accused of the lesser charge
of lying to investigators.
None of the three friends are charged with playing a role in
Trials for Kadyrbayev and Phillipos are scheduled for later
Tsarnaev is awaiting trial, set for November, on charges that
carry the death penalty if he is convicted.