A federal grand jury has charged former UMass Dartmouth students Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov for allegedly helping Dzhokhar Tsarnaev destroy evidence in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The young men, both aged 19, have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and aiding and abetting for their role, according to court documents obtained by The Huffington Post.
The indictment holds that the two men, both Kazakh nationals who have been living in the U.S. since 2011, heeded a text message sent by Tsarnaev, who urged them to go to his dorm and collect various items.
“If yu [sic] want yu [sic] can go to my room and take what’s there☺ but ight [sic] bro [sic] Salam aleikum,” the text from Tsnarnaev read, according to the indictment.
The students allegedly obtained Tsarnaev’s laptop, fireworks and a backpack, then took them to their apartment. Kadyrbayev later put the items in a garbage bag, and threw them away. The items were eventually recovered by law enforcement after several days of searching a dump.
A lawyer for one of the boys denied they had done wrong when they were detained for questioning in April.
"These kids are just as shocked and horrified about what happened as everyone else," Kadyrbayev's lawyer, Robert Stahl, told the Associated Press in a phone interview. "They can't even fathom something like this from a kid who seemed to be a typical young college student."
Stahl echoed that sentiment in a statement released Thursday in response to news of the indictments. It read in part:
While Dias’s indictment was not unexpected, it was certainly disappointing... Dias Kadyrbayev did not obstruct justice and did not knowingly or intentionally take evidence from Dzohkhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room... Dias and the others voluntarily turned over the computer from Tsarnaev’s room and told the FBI where they could find the backpack that contained a packet of fireworks. The FBI recovered all of the items because of Dias’s complete cooperation with their investigation.
Kadyrbayev's and Tazhayakov's arraignments are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Robel Phillipos, a third friend of Tsarnaev's accused of lying to the FBI, was not named in the indictment. His attorney told the Boston Globe that negotiations to resolve his case were ongoing.