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Boston suspect under scrutiny in unsolved killings

A year and a half before the Boston Marathon bombing, the man Tamerlan Tsarnaev called his best friend died in a grisly crime: He was one of three men found nearly decapitated in an apartment, their throats slashed ear to ear, marijuana sprinkled over their bodies.

Now, in an offshoot of the marathon investigation, authorities are trying to determine whether the now-dead Tsarnaev had a hand in the unsolved triple slaying in the Boston suburb of Waltham.

The direction of the investigation came into sharper focus Wednesday, when another friend of Tsarnaev’s, Ibragim Todashev, was shot to death in Orlando, Fla., after allegedly trying to attack an FBI agent while he was interrogated.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the investigation, told the Associated Press that Todashev had implicated himself in the 2011 Waltham killings before he was shot.

The officials said they did not know whether Todashev had also implicated Tsarnaev.

After the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260, Massachusetts prosecutors said they would investigate any links between Tsarnaev and the Waltham killings. Tsarnaev died April 19 after a shootout with the police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and charged in the bombing.

Prosecutors would not discuss the triple slaying or whether they believe Tsarnaev and Todashev were involved.

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said yesterday that her office is working closely with the state police, the Waltham police and the FBI.

“While we cannot discuss details pertaining to the investigation, including evidence, suspects or witnesses, this office and its law enforcement partners have conducted a thorough, far-reaching investigation beginning in 2011 when this horrific crime occurred. This investigation has not concluded and is by no means closed,” Ryan said in a statement.

One of the victims, 25-year-old Brendan Mess, was a boxer, like Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev described Mess as his “best friend” to the owner of the gym where he and Mess worked out, The Boston Globe reported.

In an interview with the AP, Todashev’s wife, Reni Manukyan, 24, who lives in Atlanta, confirmed her husband knew Tsarnaev, but said she has no reason to think they had anything more than social ties.

“Everybody knows everybody where you are from,” she said of the immigrant community in Boston. “They were not good friends.”

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