Azamat Tazhayakov is one of three of friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from UMass Dartmouth accused of interfering with the Boston Marathon bombings investigation. Tazhayakov and his roommate allegedly removed items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room on April 18, 2013, just days after the blasts near the marathon finish line.
Tazhayakov, 20, who is on trial in federal court in Boston, has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges.
Among the items removed from Tsarnaev’s room at issue in the case is a backpack that allegedly contained fireworks.
An FBI agent testified today that Tazhayakov agreed with another friend to get rid of the backpack, the Associated Press reports.
The agent testified Tuesday that Azamat Tazhayakov initially denied knowing what was in Tsarnaev’s backpack, but eventually said he saw fireworks that appeared to have been emptied of powder. The agent said Tazhayakov told her he agreed when his friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, who said they should throw away the backpack.
During cross-examination from the defense, the agent acknowledged that Tazhayakov did not indicate he handled the backpack, but said Kadyrbayev took it and threw it away.
Two more people testified today, including a friend of Tazhayakov and Tsarnaev’s UMass Dartmouth roommate.
Alexa Guevara, a student at UMass Dartmouth and friend of Tazhayakov, Tsarnaev, and Kadyrbayev, said Tazhayakov was known as a “momma's boy” because he was so nice, NECN reported. Guevara also said they played video games and smoked pot when they all hung out, WHDH reported. She also testified that she was present with Tazhayakov, Tsarnaev, Kadyrbayev, and others at the Charles River one night where they lit some fireworks.
Andrew Dwinells, Tsarnaev’s roommate, also testified in court. According to The Boston Globe’s Patricia Wen, this was the first time Dwinells has spoken publicly about the bombing case. He testified that he wasn’t friends with Tsarnaev and only met him because they were randomly paired up to be roommates. Dwinells also discussed the night of April 18, 2013 when Tsarnaev’s friends showed up at the dorm room. Dwinells testified that one person grabbed a pair of Beats headphones and another person, identified as Kadyrbayev, grabbed a bag of marijuana from a drawer, WHDH reported.
Dwinells will resume his testimony on Wednesday.
Tazhayakov’s trial is expected to take approximately three weeks. Kadyrbayev will have a separate trial.
In opening statements Monday, a prosecutor said Tsarnaev told Tazhayakov a month before the blasts that he knew how to make a bomb, and said it was good to be a martyr because you “die with a smile on your face and go straight to heaven,” the AP reported.
Tsarnaev also texted the friend, Azamat Tazhayakov, 90 minutes after the bombings and said, ‘‘Don’t go thinking it’s me,’’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, are suspected of planting two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Tamerlan died after a confrontation with police days later. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to go on trial in November and the possibility of the death penalty.
Here’s what was reported from the courtroom: