Man tied to gun called ‘bomber’ best friend
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office shows Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., who was shot to death Thursday, April 18, 2013 on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass. Stephen Silva, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was arrested Tuesday, July 22, 2014, and is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill Collier. (AP Photo/Middlesex District Attorney's Office, File)
A man linked to a gun used to kill a university police officer days after the Boston Marathon bombing allegedly told police he smoked marijuana every day because, in his words, “my best friend was the bomber.”
Stephen Silva was arrested Monday on charges of heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number. The same gun was used to kill MIT police Officer Sean Collier during a manhunt for the bombing suspects, according to two people with knowledge of the case who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.
Silva, 21, was a high school classmate and a close friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260. Collier, 26, was ambushed several days later and shot multiple times in his car.
Silva was arrested at a subway station in Dorchester in November on marijuana charges. According to court documents, when transit police found marijuana in Silva’s pocket, he allegedly said, “I smoke a lot of weed every day because my best friend was the bomber.”
Silva’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, said Tuesday evening that he had received the case only a few hours earlier.
“According to news reports, law-enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used ... in the MIT officer Sean Collier shooting. However, this has not been charged in the indictment,” he said.
Shapiro said in a statement that he was in the process of meeting with his client and reviewing evidence in the case. He declined to comment further.
According to the indictment, Silva received the gun in or around February 2013. It said the gun “had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”
The indictment also alleges that Silva conspired to distribute heroin this summer in the Boston area.
At his initial court appearance on Tuesday, Silva was ordered to remain in custody and a bail hearing was scheduled for Aug. 6.
Dzhokhar’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped but was soon found, wounded and hiding in a boat dry-docked in a backyard in suburban Watertown.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
Four other men have charged in the bombing investigation.
On Monday, a federal jury found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for trying to protect Tsarnaev by agreeing with another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, to get rid of a backpack and disable fireworks they took from his dorm room. Kadyrbayev is to be tried next month on the same charges.
Robel Phillipos, who is charged with lying to investigators about being in the dorm room with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov the night the items were taken, is to have a separate trial in September. And a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Khairulluzon Matanov, is to be tried next year on charges that he lied to investigators about the extent of his friendship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the contact he had with both brothers in the days following the bombings.