Dias Kadyrbayev, a 20-year-old Kazakh national, had been scheduled
to go on trial next month and was facing up to 25 years in prison on
charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for removing a
backpack and other evidence from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room in the
days after the bombing.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two
pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston
Marathon on April 15, 2013.
Kadyrbayev also agreed to be deported from the United States as part
of the agreement. U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said he would
not accept the deal immediately but scheduled a sentencing hearing
for Nov. 18.
Prosecutors had argued that Kadyrbayev and two other friends of
Tsarnaev impeded the investigation by removing evidence including a
backpack containing empty fireworks casings, a jar of Vaseline, a
thumb drive and a laptop computer from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the
University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
On Thursday, Kadyrbayev changed his plea to guilty on both the
conspiracy and obstruction charges during an appearance at federal
court in Boston. He wore a blue polo shirt and sneakers, and his
father sat in the courtroom behind him.
His attorney, Robert Stahl, said afterward that Kadyrbayev had
"accepted full responsibility for his actions" and was unaware that
Tsarnaev or his brother Tamerlan allegedly had been planning the
"Dias is a young man, he was barely 19 when this happened and he
made a terrible choice, an error in judgment that he is paying for
dearly," Stahl told reporters outside the courthouse.
SECOND FRIEND CONVICTED
A second friend of Tsarnaev, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted of the
same charges last month after six days of testimony by federal
agents and other witnesses, though the jury found him not guilty of
charges related to the laptop computer.
Tazhayakov, who shared an apartment with Kadyrbayev, faces up to 20
years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and up to five
years on the conspiracy count. He is scheduled to be sentenced on
A third man, Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, faces a
less serious charge of lying to investigators, which carries a
possible 16-year sentence. None of the three men has been accused of
playing any role in the bombing.
[to top of second column]
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both Kazakh exchange students, were first
questioned by investigators four days after the bombing, when
heavily armed law enforcement agents arrived at their New Bedford,
They were arrested the next day on charges of violating the terms of
their student visas.
Before Tazhayakov’s trial earlier this year, James Wiroll, a special
agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, testified that
Kadyrbayev had told him he had thrown away the backpack and laptop
after coming to suspect that Tsarnaev committed the bombing.
Tazhayakov's attorneys maintained that their client never touched
the backpack or the laptop, and that it was Kadyrbayev who had
handled them and later dropped the backpack into a dumpster. Agents
later recovered the backpack from a landfill.
Kadyrbayev's plea agreement said the two agreed to remove the
backpack and other items from Tsarnaev's dorm room and bring them
back to their apartment in New Bedford.
Tsarnaev was captured following a massive manhunt in the days after
the Boston Marathon bombing and is awaiting trial in November on
terrorism charges. His older brother Tamerlan, also a suspect in the
bombing, was killed following a shoot-out with police.
(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Frank McGurty, Peter
Cooney and Eric Beech)
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