Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga is towed under the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge on her final voyage, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, from Naval Station Newport in Newport, R.I., to the Esco Marine ship recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas, where it will be scrapped. The ship arrived in Newport on Aug. 7, 1998, after spending four years in storage following her decommissioning in 1994. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Lindsay Church)
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Dias Kadyrbayev, center, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is depicted Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 in federal court in Boston during a hearing where he pleaded guilty before Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, right, to impeding the investigation into the deadly attack. At left is his defense attorney Robert Stahl. Kadyrbayev, of Kazakhstan, was accused of removing a backpack containing emptied-out fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room after realizing he was suspected of carrying out the 2013 attack with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, a tug works alongside the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga at Naval Station Newport Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 in Newport, R.I. The ship departed port Thursday for it's final journey to the Esco Marine ship recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas, where it will be scrapped. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
Attorney Robert Stahl speaks to media outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 after his client, Dias Kadyrbayev, 20, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation into the deadly attack. Kadyrbayev is accused of removing a backpack containing emptied-out fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room after realizing he was suspected of carrying out the 2013 attack with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
A college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded guilty yesterday to impeding the investigation by removing incriminating evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room several days after the deadly attack.
Dias Kadyrbayev, 20, admitted in federal court that he removed Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks that had been emptied of their explosive powder from Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Twin bombs placed near the finish line of the 2013 marathon killed three people and injured more than 260.
Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors said they would ask for no more than seven years in prison. The agreement allows his lawyer to argue for a lesser sentence. Kadyrbayev also agreed not to fight deportation after he completes his prison sentence.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock set sentencing for Nov. 18 but did not immediately accept the plea agreement, saying he first wanted to review a report that will be prepared by the probation department.
Kadyrbayev’s decision to plead guilty came just two weeks before he was scheduled to go on trial and a month after his friend and co-conspirator, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted of identical charges by a jury.
During Tazhayakov’s trial, prosecutors described Kadyrbayev as the leader in the decision to remove the items, but said Tazhayakov agreed with the plan. They said Kadyrbayev was the one who actually threw away the backpack and fireworks, which were later recovered in a landfill.
Kadyrbayev’s lawyer, Robert Stahl, said his client made a “terrible error in judgment that he’s paying for dearly.”
Stahl emphasized that Kadyrbayev – a native of Kazakhstan who came to the U.S. in 2011 on a student visa – “had absolutely no knowledge” that Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were planning to bomb the marathon and was “shocked and horrified” when he learned they were suspects.
He said Kadyrbayev, who was 19 at the time, “now understands he never should have gone to that dorm room, and he never should have taken any items from that room.”