Boston bomb suspect's friend to plead guilty to obstruction -lawyer

by Reuters
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:22 GMT

(Adds Tazhayakov not guilty of charges involving a laptop, paragraph 5)

By Daniel Lovering

BOSTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - A friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of removing evidence from Tsarnaev's dormitory room, has agreed to plead guilty to charges of obstructing the investigation into the blasts, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Dias Kadyrbayev, a Kazakh national, is one of three college friends of Tsarnaev charged with hampering the probe into the blasts, which killed three people and injured more than 260 near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

His attorney, Robert Stahl, wrote in an email on Wednesday that Kadyrbayev "will plead tomorrow," but that the details had not yet been made public.

He wrote that he will provide further details on Thursday, when a previously scheduled hearing will be held at federal court in Boston.

Kadyrbayev had entered a not guilty plea to the charges a year ago.

Last month, a U.S. jury found Kadyrbayev's roommate, Azamat Tazhayakov, guilty of obstructing the investigation by removing a backpack containing empty fireworks casings from the suspect's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

The jury found Tazhayakov not guilty of similar charges involving a laptop computer.

Tazhayakov could face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and up to five years on the conspiracy count. He will be sentenced on Oct. 16, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said earlier.

Like Tazhayakov, Kadyrbayev faces conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, which carry a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

A third man, Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, faces a less serious charge of lying to investigators, which could mean a possible 16-year sentence. (Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech)

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