Tsarnaev’s connections: Who’s who


Story highlights

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on trial in 2013 Boston Marathon bombings

His parents, who are divorced, have both moved to Russian republic of Dagestan

His sisters and brother's widow are believed to be living in New Jersey

CNN —  

Here are some of the names you might be hearing about as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev goes on trial in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings:

• Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev: Born July 22, 1993, Tsarnaev and his family immigrated to the United States and applied for political asylum when he was 8. A popular student, Tsarnaev attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and was captain of his high school wrestling team. He received a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Tsarnaev was known on campus for selling marijuana, according to court testimony. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September 2012, seven months before the bombings. Federal agents say surveillance video captured him near the second blast site, where 8-year-old Martin Richards was killed.

After the bombings, Tsarnaev returned to campus and stayed there until the FBI publicly identified him as a suspect. Tsarnaev texted a friend to come to his room and take whatever he wanted as he would not be coming back. He and older brother Tamerlan went on the run, allegedly killing an MIT officer, carjacking an SUV and engaging Watertown, Massachusetts, police in a firefight. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed, and Dzhokhar was discovered the next day, badly wounded, hiding in a boat.

• Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, born October 21, 1986, was an accomplished boxer. He won the New England Golden Gloves heavyweight division in 2009-2010. Known for his flashy clothes and in-your-face self-confidence, Tamerlan aspired to join the U.S. boxing team despite being only a permanent resident and therefore ineligible. In early 2011, Russia asked the FBI to look at Tsarnaev’s activities. After interviewing Tsarnaev and family members, the FBI said it “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government.” In January 2012, Tsarnaev left New York for Russia. It’s not clear what he did while there, but Tsarnaev’s father has said his son was with him at all times. He returned to the United States in July 2012.

Seventy-two hours before the bombing, he was seen working out at the Wai Kru mixed martial arts gym with his younger brother. He was killed following a gunfight with Watertown police after his brother tried to free him with a stolen SUV but ran him down instead, according to an indictment against the younger Tsarnaev.

• Anzor Tsarnaev: Anzor Tsarnaev is the father of the Tsarnaev brothers. Originally from Chechnya, the family was exiled by Russians and settled in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan before seeking political asylum in the United States. The elder Tsarnaev fixed cars for a living, making ends meet through welfare. He and wife Zubeidat divorced in 2011, and he returned to the Russian republic of Dagestan, where he now lives.

• Zubeidat Tsarnaeva: Mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva worked as a home health aide before switching to facials and skin care, both at a local spa and in her Cambridge home. She was charged with shoplifting in summer 2012 and soon after moved to Dagestan. If she returns to the United States, she could be arrested for failing to resolve the shoplifting charges. She has phoned several times during her younger son’s incarceration.

• Ailina Tsarnaeva: Ailina Tsarnaeva is the sister of the Tsarnaev brothers. At age 16, she entered an arranged marriage that produced a son and lasted little more than a year, according to an investigative piece by The Boston Globe. Last year, Tsarnaeva was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment, accused of making a bomb threat against the mother of her boyfriend’s child. She denies the charge. Her last known address was in North Bergen, New Jersey, near her sister and the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

• Bella Tsarnaeva: Sister Bella Tsarnaev also reportedly has a child from a failed marriage, according to The Boston Globe. She was arrested in New Jersey on marijuana charges, and she entered into a pretrial intervention program.

• Katherine Russell: Raised as a Christian in Providence, Rhode Island, “Katie,” as she was known in high school, went to Suffolk University in Boston but dropped out before graduating. She married Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2010 in a small, private ceremony officiated by a Boston imam. She worked as a home health aide to support the couple’s young daughter. Her last known apartment was just blocks from the last listed address of Ailina and Bella Tsarnaeva, her sisters-in-law. By all indications, Russell has chosen to be near – and with – her dead husband’s family in New Jersey, rather than with her parents in Rhode Island.

Russell had one dust-up with the law – a June 2007 arrest for stealing $67 in goods from Old Navy. She acknowledged the theft and gave back the merchandise, according to court records.

• Ruslan Tsarni: The uncle of the accused bombing suspect, he widely condemned the attack on the Boston Marathon, saying nephew Tamerlan “messed up his life, that’s why he decided (to) take lives of innocent people.”

02:33 - Source: CNN AP
Where is alleged Boston bomber's widow?

• Ibragim Todashev: Ibragrim Todashev was Tamerlan’s sparring partner at the Wai Kru mixed martial arts gym near Cambridge. The two bonded over Chechnya and religion, sometimes laying out rugs to pray to Mecca inside the small gym. Todashev moved to Florida in fall 2011, not long after a brutal triple slaying in Waltham, Massachusetts. One of the victims was fellow sparring partner Brendan Mess who, along with two friends, were nearly decapitated, with marijuana strewn over their bodies. Authorities began taking a closer look at possible involvement by both Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Todashev, who was allegedly writing out a “confession” when, authorities say, he tried to attack an FBI agent. The agent fatally shot Todashev, whose family maintains he is innocent.

• Dias Kadyrbayev: Dias Kadyrbayev, a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, pleaded guilty to “obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation,” and he also pleaded guilty to conspiracy with his actions in the days immediately following the bombing.

Kadyrbayev was charged with four counts, including obstructing justice and conspiracy for throwing Tsarnaev’s backpack into a trash bin after discovering it contained fireworks with gunpowder, and removing a jar of Vaseline and a computer thumb drive. Investigators later recovered the backpack at a landfill.

Kadyrbayev also took Tsarnaev’s computer to his off-campus apartment, where the FBI later seized it. He is awaiting sentencing.

13th Juror: Fishy case could silence accused bomber’s pals

• Azamat Tazhayakov: In July, a jury found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of obstructing justice and conspiring to obstruct justice in connection with the removal of a backpack with potential evidence from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the bombings.

Tazhayakov was another friend of Tsarnaev’s and was Kadyrbayev’s roommate.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are both nationals of Kazakhstan who were temporarily living in the United States on student visas while attending the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Tazhayakov is expected to appeal.

• Robel Phillipos: Robel Phillipos, also a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, was convicted in October on two counts of lying to federal agents investigating the 2013 bombing.

Prosecutors said Phillipos lied to investigators about being in Tsarnaev’s college dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth after the bombings.

Phillipos knew Tsarnaev from high school. According to court documents, Phillipos hadn’t seen or talked to Tsarnaev for at least two months before the bombing. Phillipos has filed a motion for judgment of acquittal and new trial.