Boston bomber spoke of martyrdom before attack: FBI
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[July 12, 2014]
By Daniel Lovering
BOSTON (Reuters) - 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 on Friday 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, 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," Quinn testified.
Tsarnaev was captured in the days after the 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
FBI agent Farbod Azad had testified on Thursday that Tazhayakov told
him in an interview after the bombing that he and Kadyrbayev and a
third man, Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, had removed
the backpack and a laptop from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room.
Tazhayakov's attorneys say he never touched the backpack or
fireworks, and that it was Kadyrbayev who threw them out.
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FBI Special Agent Kenneth Benton testified on Friday he recovered
the backpack at a landfill on April 26, 2013. The backpack contained
fireworks with the gunpowder removed, a spiral notebook, a jar of
Vaseline and a homework assignment from an ethics class in which
Tsarnaev was enrolled, he said.
An FBI forensic examiner, David McCollum, testified Vaseline could
be used to make an improvised explosive device.
Tazhayakov could face up to 25 years in prison. Kadyrbayev faces the
same charges. Phillipos is accused of the lesser charge of lying to
Tsarnaev's trial is set for November, on charges that carry the
death penalty if he is convicted.
(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Susan
Heavey and Eric Beech)
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