When Stephen Silva spoke to Rolling Stone magazine for a cover story, he spoke under a pseudonym “Sam.’’
“Sam’’ told the magazine that his friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “never picked on anybody,’’ “wasn’t violent,’’ and “was just really humble.’’
“He was one of the realest dudes I’ve ever met in my life,’’ ‘Sam’ said.
On Tuesday, Silva testified in the Boston Marathon bombing trial as a witness for the prosecution, telling the jury things about Dzhokhar that never made it into the Rolling Stone cover story.
Silva is currently incarcerated on drug charges, and he is cooperating with the government with the hopes of a reduced sentence. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
In the Rolling Stone article, ‘Sam’ claims that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the brother with radical leanings. He was sure that the “only explanation’’ for Dzhokhar’s involvement was that Tamerlan brainwashed his younger brother.
Silva said he never met Tamerlan, and that Dzhokhar said “You don’t wanna meet my brother.’’
On Wednesday, however, Silva’s testimony was in line with claims made by the prosecution about Dzhokhar.
Silva testified that the younger Tsarnaev shared his thoughts on American foreign policy during a high school class the pair took together.
“We were having a debate about American foreign policy in the Middle East…. [Dzhokhar] raised [a] point that American foreign policy tends to be a little hostile toward the Middle East, persecuting Muslims, going to war, trying to take over the peoples’ culture and tell them what to do … And that it’s wrong … Americans shouldn’t be allowed to go wherever they want and tell people what to do.’’
Silva also testified about visiting Dzhokhar’s home on Norfolk Street in Cambridge, and told the jury he remembered seeing a “Black Standard’’ flag hanging on his bedroom wall. The flag bears the shahada, one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which states roughly: “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.’’
According to Silva’s testimony, Dzhokhar borrowed a gun from him in early 2013. Silva had obtained the gun for a friend. That friend, “Howie,’’ told Silva he was concerned his mother would find the firearm.
Silva said that Dzhokhar asked to borrow the gun to “rip’’ some kids from the University of Rhode Island. When Silva handed over the gun, he told the jury that Dzhokhar asked for “food for the dog’’—a reference to needing ammunition.
According to Silva, a gun recovered in Watertown after the brothers engaged police in an extended shootout was the same gun. He said the gun police found, which is a P-95 Ruger, had the same discoloration and markings of the gun he previously handed to Dzhokhar.
Days before the Boston Marathon bombings, Silva said he met Dzhokhar and his friend Dias Kadyrbayev in the parking lot of Silva’s mother’s apartment building, located above 816 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. He said he met the pair to sell them marijuana. Silva never saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev again.
Within days, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were on Boylston Street, and then they were on the run.
In the early morning hours of April 19, Dun Meng escaped after he was carjacked by the brothers. He ran across Memorial Drive, and called the police from the same gas station where Silva had sold Dzhokhar marijuana just days earlier.