Deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been officially linked to a bizarre triple homicide in 2011, a case that had gone cold before the elder Tsarnaev’s death following the Marathon attacks earlier this year.
While Tamerlan Tsarnaev survived the initial blast, he was later killed during a nighttime confrontation with Boston police. After a lengthy lockdown of the city of Boston, Tsarnaev’s younger brother Dzhokhar was captured, alive but wounded, hiding in a boat in nearby Watertown. The younger suspect was not found by police during the massive manhunt, but unexpectedly rumbled from his hiding spot by a startled homeowner who’d gone out for a cigarette.
During the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that the brothers had been loosely linked to the victims in a 2011 Boston triple homicide, one that had remained unsolved.
Tsarnaev’s involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing in and of itself is unsettlingly cold and evil on its face — and the newer information regarding the earlier killings is even more unsettling. Brendan Mess, 25, Erik Weissman, 31, and Raphael Teken, 37, were all linked with martial arts, like Tsarnaev — and all three were found violently murdered, their corpses sprinkled with marijuana.
Not only did the killings happen nearly two years prior to the deadly explosions in Boston, but the murders also occurred on September 11. That day is not only significant for the millions of Americans who still mourn the events of the date in 2001, but also extremists who see it as a victory over enemies — extremists whose profiles Tsarnaev is believed to have matched.
Stranger still is how authorities are believed to have come by breaks in that cold case in Boston, the one that far predated the Marathon attacks.
Not only did the info come years after the first crime was allegedly committed, but it came from friend of the Tsarnaevs, Ibragim Todashev. The friend was inexplicably shot to death in custody in Florida as he was questioned about his connection to the brothers, a killing his father believes was unwarranted — and the elder Todashev claims his son was too injured to even fight back if attacked, much less threaten anyone physically.
The case is bizarre all around, but there are many reasons why it could affect the future of key players — including Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, is quoted by the Washington Post as saying that if credible, the prior criminality (though not established through a conviction) could partially shield Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in court:
“If I was a defense attorney and was seeking perhaps to draw attention to the influence the older brother had in planning the bombing, I would use his involvement in other crimes to show that he was likely the main perpetrator in the Boston bombing.”