A friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the men accused of participating in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, took the stand on Monday to address charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for his alleged involvement in the plot.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is one of two men accused of making homemade explosive devices and placing them at the finish line of the Boston Marathon back in 2013. According to ABC News, the intent behind the attacks was to retaliate against U.S. actions in Muslim countries. Tsarnaev is currently accused of murder and several other counts, for the three deaths and hundreds of people injured due to the Boston Marathon explosions. His brother, Tamerlan, was shot to death during a police raid days after the bombings.
According to the report, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev texted his friend Azamat Tazhayakov around 90 minutes after news of the bombings hit the airwaves to say:
Don’t go thinking it’s me.
However, it soon came to light that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had some level of involvement, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann. Upon questioning Dias Kadyrbayev, another friend of Tsarnaev’s, it was determined that he and Azamat Tazhayakov attempted to destroy evidence that indicated Tsarnaev’s involvement. The two are currently charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges for disposing of a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks and black powder that was thought to be used in the making of the explosives used during the Boston Marathon bombings.
“The government will prove to you that the defendant and his co-conspirator removed the backpack for one reason, and that reason was to protect their friend who they had just learned was one of the two suspected marathon bombers,” Siegmann said during her opening statement on Monday.
According to MSN News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev confided in Azamat Tazhayako, saying that “it was good to die” as a martyr because that person would die “with a smile on your face and go straight to heaven.”
Nicholas Wooldridge, the defense attorney for Tazhayakov, said that it was, in fact, Kadyrbayev who threw the backpack away in the trash after his girlfriend learned it belonged to Tsarnaev and told him, “Get it out of the apartment.”
Although the two are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges for their involvement in the attempted destruction of crucial evidence which would link Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the Boston Marathon bombings, both Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev both deny ever intentionally destroying evidence.
Prosecutors have entered into a plea deal with Kadyrbayev and his girlfriend in exchange for their testimony against Tazhayakov. A third college friend, Robel Phillipos, is also accused of lying to authorities.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will stand trial in November and faces the death penalty if convicted.
[Photo credit: Time Magazine]