In the first completed court case related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Azamat Tazhayakov was found guilty in a federal court in Boston Monday on obstruction charges for his role in a plan to destroy evidence owned by accused bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev.
Tazhayakov was college friend of Tsarnaev’s at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He was found complicit in a plan with two other students to throw away Tsarnaev’s laptop and empty fireworks he used to build bombs after Tsarnaev was identified as a suspect in the bombing. The 20-year-old was found guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct, which carry 20-year and five-year maximum terms, respectively. Sentencing is set for Oct. 16.
— WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston) July 21, 2014
Tazhayakov went into Tsarnaev’s room, allegedly with Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos, on the night of April 18, hours after police identified Tsarnaev, who asked them to throw the materials out. Tazhayakov’s lawyers say he didn’t take Tsarnaev’s items himself, but that Kadyrbayev did. They argued he didn’t know about Kadyrbayev’s plan, but the prosecution said he was in the room when Kadyrbayev took the materials and did agree with the plan.
Kadyrbayev faces trial in October and Phillipos is reportedly still in talks with authorities to resolve his charges of lying to police about being in Tsarnaev's dorm room. All pleaded not guilty to their charges.
The guilty verdicts apply only to Tsarnaev’s backpack, because the 12-member jury decided they took the laptop to sell and not to destroy it. Tazhayakov’s mother wept as the jury read the verdict after three days of deliberation.