Twenty-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov, a college friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was found guilty today of covering up evidence in the wake of the attack. Three more friends of Tsarnaev have yet to be tried on similar charges.
The New York Times reports on Tazhayakov's involvement in the cover-up:
Prosecutors asserted that he was contacted by [another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev] shortly after surveillance photos of the Tsarnaev brothers were released by the FBI on April 18 — three days after the bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others. The government contended that the two met, looked at those photos on Kadyrbayev's phone, and that Kadyrbayev showed Tazhaykaov a text message from Tsarnaev imploring him to "go to my room and take what's there."
Tazhayakaov's lawyer maintained that it was Kadyrbayev who actually removed the items, and that Tazhayakaov was just a passive observer. The prosecution argued that even if Tazhayakaov didn't take the lead on the cover-up, there was no way he didn't know what was going on. Per the Boston Globe, "Forensic analysis of Tazhayakov's laptop and cellphones showed that he accessed videos of the bombing over and over again, prosecutors said, and as early as about 11 p.m. on April 18, 2013 — six hours after the FBI had released photos of the suspected bombers — Tazhayakov was putting Tsarnaev's name in Internet searches."
Now that he's convicted, he faces 20 years in prison.
If Tsarnaev is convicted on all charges, he could face the death penalty. His trial is scheduled for November.
[Image via AP]