A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of "impeding investigation." The friend, Azamat Tazhayakov, was charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy and found guilty after 15 hours of jury deliberation.
Prosecutors argued that Tazhayakov altered fireworks, as well as other pieces of evidence, from a dorm room after Tsarnaev became a suspect in the bombing. Information on his laptop also came into question, as Tazhayakov searched Tsarnaev's name, accessing multiple videos of the bombing.
U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock created a jury slip that allowed jurors to select guilty or not guilty to the two distinct charges: "conspiring to alter, destruct, conceal or cover up tangible objects" (meaning taking part in it) or aiding in the alteration, destruction and concealment. The judge also noted that jurors should debate two specific objects: Tsarnaev's laptop and his backpack. The jurors found Tazhayakov guilty of two charges when it came to removing the backpack from the dorm room; however, not guilty for the laptop.
This is the first case related to the Marathon bombing to go to trial. The other two of the three Tsarnaev friends involved face trial also, for the same charges. The second trial will be of Dias Kadyrbayev in early September and the third, of Robel Phillios, will be later this year. Tsarnev's trial is scheduled for November, and he faces the death penalty.
Tazhayakov now faces a maximum 20-year sentence for obstruction and five years for the conspiracy charge. The sentencing will occur on October 16th.