Boston Marathon Bombing: Kazakh Student Found Guilty of Obstructing Justice (UPDATE)


Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, has been found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts that occurred on April 15, 2013.

The Kazakh exchange student, along with Robel Phillipos and Dias Kadyrbayev, was accused of removing items including a laptop and a backpack with empty firework shells from the 20-year-old suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dormitory at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, April 18, 2013.

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, two pressure cooker bombs set off at 2:49 pm EDT (18:49 UTC) at the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 264 others. The attack is considered to be the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil after 9/11 attacks.

The jury found Tazhayakov guilty of removing the backpack and not guilty of charges involving a laptop computer. Juror Daniel Antonino said that the men had taken the laptop "because it was valuable, plain and simple," and not to hinder the investigation, Al-jazeera reports.

Tazhayakov faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence for obstruction of justice and a five-year maximum for treachery. Sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Prosecutors argued that Tazhayakov and fellow Kazakh exchange student Kadyrbayev tampered with the evidence after realizing that their friend was a bombing suspect. Tazhayakov's lawyers claimed that Kadyrbayev was only responsible for removal and disposal of the items from the dorm room.

Prosecutors reiterated that both men were involved in the decision related to the items.

Kadyrbayev faces a separate trial in September, while Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is indicted for allegedly lying during inquiry. 

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