Two weeks after twin blasts near the Boston Marathon’s finish line, the story continues to develop – including new insights and movement on the investigation, the victims and more.
– Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, told investigators that she spoke to her husband after his picture appeared on national television as one of two suspects being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, two sources familiar with the investigation told CNN on Wednesday.
Previously reported developments:
– An attorney for Dias Kadyrbayev, one of the three 19-year-olds arrested Wednesday, disputed the allegations against his client and said Kadyrbayev did not know items he admitted to discarding “were involved in a bombing.”
– Another of the suspects arrested Wednesday, Azamat Tazhayakov, is “shocked and horrified” to hear that someone he knew was involved in the bombings, attorney Harland Protass said. The attorney said his client has fully cooperated with authorities in the investigation and looks forward to the truth coming out.
– Attorney Raymond A. O’Hara, who reportedly was appointed to represent Robel Phillipos, told CNN that the 19-year-old U.S. citizen has retained private counsel.
– Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, who the FBI said are Kazakh nationals, and Phillipos were ordered Wednesday to return to court on May 14 for an evidentiary hearing, at which time a bail application is expected to be made.
– About a month before the marathon attack, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had told Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov “that he knew how to make a bomb,” according to an FBI affidavit recounting the charges. Kadyrbayev told investigators that Tsarnaev “appeared to have given himself a short haircut” two days after the bombings.
– According to the affidavit, when the FBI on April 18 released photographs of bomb suspects later identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, Kadyrbayev texted his friend Dzhokhar to tell him “he looked like the suspect on television.” Tsarnaev texted back “lol” and added, “come to my room and take whatever you want.” Phillipos, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev went to the room, where Kadyrbayev noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been “opened and emptied of powder,” according to the affidavit.
“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” the affidavit states.
– The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth issued a statement regarding the enrollment status of the three men arrested Wednesday. According to the university, Kadyrbayev and Phillipos are not enrolled currently, and Tazhayakov is enrolled but has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.
– Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are charged with “conspiracy to obstruct justice by conspiring to destroy, conceal and cover up tangible objects belonging to suspected Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, namely a laptop computer and backpack containing fireworks,” according to the criminal complaint, released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts District.
– Phillipos is charged with “willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation,” according to the complaint.
– According to the affidavit accompanying the complaint, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are both nationals of Kazakhstan who entered the U.S. on student visas.
– Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
– Kadyrbayev, Tazhaykov, Phillipos and Tsarnaev began attending Umass Dartmouth at the same time in 2011, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in U.S. District Court. Investigators originally thought Kadyrbayev was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; a screen grab of his Facebook page had him listed as being in MIT’s class of 2015 and that he was in the school of engineering.
– Murat Kadyrbayev, father Dias Kadyrbayev, said last week that his son and Tazhayakov own a BMW that garnered attention in the investigation. The car had a decorative license plate reading “Terrorista #1.” The plate was a joke from friends in Spain, Murat Kadyrbayev told the Kazakh news website Tengri News and STV channel in an interview, Tengrinews.kz reported.
– A source briefed on the investigation says that Dias Kadyrbayev was first handcuffed and taken in for questioning by FBI agents April 19, hours before police captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Kadyrbayev was released and then taken in for questioning again on the morning of April 21, according to the source.
– One of the reasons Kadyrbayev was of immediate interest involved activity on his Facebook page. The source says that while Dzhokhar was on the run – at 3 a.m. on April 19, Kadyrbayev deleted a photo showing him and the suspect having dinner together, according to the source briefed on the investigation.
– The source said that Kadyrbayev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev both changed their Facebook photos early Friday morning within 15 minutes of each other.
– Lawyers for Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev told CNN the two had been in federal custody on immigration charges already.
– A federal law enforcement official told CNN the charge of conspiring to obstruct justice relates to their moving things from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room and throwing them into a dumpster. The source said the objects disposed of included fireworks inside backpacks. The trash bin subsequently was taken to a nearby landfill. Authorities carried out a two-day search of the landfill in New Bedford late last week.
– Police in Boston said “there is no threat to the public” after announcing that three more suspects have been taken into custody.
– Alan Dershowitz, a prominent defense attorney and Harvard law professor, said at least two of the additional three people arrested do not appear “to have been charged with anything relating to the bombing itself.”
“If they knew about the bombing, if they were involved in the bombing, the charges would be conspiracy to do the acts for which the other man has already been charged,” Dershowitz said Wednesday. “So it sounds like at this point in time the only evidence they have is actions that took place after the bombing.”
– Richard Donohue, the transit police officer wounded in a firefight with the bombing suspects on April 19, said in a statement Wednesday that he still faces a “long road” of rehabilitation and recovery, but is on the mend. “I am optimistic I’ll recover back to 100%” he said.