3 More Marathon Suspects in Custody [VIDEO]
Three suspects have been arraigned in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing for removing a backpack and laptop from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm at U Mass Dartmouth.
Nineteen-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both of New Bedford, Mass. were arraigned and held on voluntary detention. Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. was arraigned separately and held without bail.
They all face charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements for trying to destroy a backpack with fireworks and a laptop with, “intent to impede and obstruct” according to WCVB TV.
The criminal complaints against all three also reveal details about the bombing on Monday, April 15 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Boston Police made the initial announcement in a tweet and released few details.
They added in a separate tweet, “Please be advised there is no threat to the public.”
The arrests came following a raid on a home in New Bedford, Mass. the same day as the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Today’s suspects were taken into custody shortly after the raid.
A federal law enforcement official says one of three young men arrested in the Boston Marathon bombings case was allowed to return to the U.S. from Kazakhstan in January despite not having a valid student visa. The Department of Homeland Security says U.S. Customs and Border Protection had not been notified that Azamat Tazhayakov was no longer a student.
Attorneys for two young Kazakh men who were college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say their clients had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombings and were just as surprised as everyone else. Azamat Tazhayakov is charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by concealing and destroying evidence. A third college buddy has been charged with making false statements to federal investigators.
The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth has suspended one student charged in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings and says the other two aren’t enrolled. The university said Wednesday that Azamat Tazhayakov has been suspended “pending the outcome of the case.” He and Dias Kadyrbayev were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.
Robel Phillipos was charged with making false statements. The university says Kadyrbayez and Phillipos aren’t enrolled.
Robel Phillipos will be arraigned separately in the same courtroom. He is wearing shackles and a striped T-shirt according to WCVB TV and looking down.
He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Marianne Bowler suggests to the suspect to “look at me rather than looking down.” He is said to very nervous. His mother is crying.
He is also considered a flight risk and waived his right to bail.
The government is asking for no bail because Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, are considered flight risks according to WCVB TV and are being held on voluntary detention without bail. They have been taken from the courtroom by US Marshals. Their next court date is May 14.
Prosecutors are asking for 5 years in jail for each suspect if they are convicted plus a $250,000 fine according to WCVB TV.
WCVB TV reports that Robel Phillipos is of Ethiopian descent and his family has been in the United States for over a decade. A family friend tells the station he attended Cambridge Ringe & Latin with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and described him as a “very good, very cool kid.”
Reporters await the start of the court hearing at the Mokakley Federal Courthouse in Boston at 3:30 p.m. The front of the building is clear of spectators. Reporters are allowed inside the courtroom but not cameras. No press conference by the US Attorney will follow the hearing.
Fox News reports that the Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev are “shocked at the bombings,” and “they express sorrow to the bombing victims and their families.”
Law enforcement believes that the items removed from Dzhokhar’s dorm room helped destroy evidence that might have further proven his involvement according to CNN. An official told CNN that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev contacted them via text shortly after the FBI released the pictures of them to the public as suspects on Thursday, April 18 and texted them to take what they wanted from his dorm. The suspects at first did not make the connection between the marathon bombings and the request. Once they arrived they made the connection when they saw empty firework containers after having seen the pictures of the suspects and noticing a resemblance to their friend. “Lol, You better not text me,” Tsarnaev texted back. The friends proceeded to remove items to protect their friend.
Phillipos lied under questioning about going to the dorm room and destroying the items. In a second interview he said he went to the dorm but said the door was locked and repeated the statement in a third interview.
WBZ TV reports that Phillipos lives in a high-rise apartment near the gas station where the Tsarnaev brothers got into a gun battle with police. Neighbors describe him as a quiet person and are surprised at the charges.
The third suspect is identified as Rebel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is charged with with willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation.
The three suspects will go before a judge at 3:30 p.m. at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston. In charges unsealed by the US Attorney they face charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements for trying to destroy a backpack with fireworks and a laptop with “intent to impede and obstruct” according to WCVB TV.
WBZ TV aired pictures taken by a neighbor of suspects being taken into custody on Friday, April 19 at the New Bedford home.
Suspect Dias Kadyrbayev has an attorney from New Jersey named Robert Stahl according to CBS News who will represent Kadyrbayev at his hearing this afternoon.
12:57 p.m. EDT
The third suspect, an American, has not been identified. The Associated Press reports the suspect is a man.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz says the charges against the three will be unsealed in federal court this afternoon before a magistrate judge.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) says he has been told the suspects helped Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the bombings.
12:51 p.m. EDT
12:41 p.m. EDT
Linda Cristello, a Boston attorney who represented Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev in immigration court Wednesday morning, confirmed her clients now face separate federal charges and have an afternoon court appearance related to the bombing case.
12:30 p.m. EDT
Two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation say two of the three people newly arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing case are two men originally from Kazakhstan who were friendly with the main suspect. Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev appeared via video for a visa violation hearing in immigration court in Boston on Wednesday. The officials who said they were in custody spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation.
12:17 p.m. EDT
Boston attorney Alan Dershowitz tells CNN: “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 told CNN. “So it sounds like at this point in time the only evidence they have is actions that took place after the bombing.”
Although crowds are gathered around the federal courthouse in Boston, WBZ TV reports there will be no hearing until 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. this afternoon.
12:00 p.m. EDT
The three helped Dzhokhar, who attended UMass Dartmouth, get rid of a backpack full of fireworks according to ABC News. The brothers visited a fireworks store in Seabrook, New Hampshire in February looking for the “biggest, loudest stuff” in the store according to WMUR TV.
11:55 p.m. EDT
WBZ reports the three are friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and will be charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. Two are not American citizens. CBS reports the charges are for activity following the bombing for “harboring or aiding” Dzhokhar.
The FBI conducted a weekend search at a landfill near New Bedford reportedly for a laptop and backpack.
11:43 p.m. EDT
WABC TV reports two of the students appeared in court via video from a county jail after being held for over a week for violating their student visas while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.