A friend of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been given a six year jail sentence for obstruction of justice. Dias Kadyrbayev used his court appearance to apologize to the victims and their families.
Before his six-year sentence was handed down Tuesday, the defendant (pictured, center) told the court he was sorry for not calling the police when he realized his friend was a suspect in the deadly marathon attack on April 15, 2013.
"I want to start by saying how truly sorry I am for all the victims, their families, their friends," Kadyrbayev said. "I am ashamed by my actions. I know my bad decision put shame on my name."
The 21-year-old Kazakhstan national last year pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges for removing items from Tsarnaev's dorm room before it was searched by the FBI.
Prosecutors were seeking a seven year sentence, saying Kadyrbayev had chosen to protect Tsarnaev instead of helping law enforcement identify him. They argued Kadyrbayev may have been able to prevent the murder of a police officer shot dead by the Tsarnaev brothers if he had only contacted the authorities.
'No answer' for actions
When photos of Tsarnaev were broadcast on the news three days after the bombings, Kadyrbayev exchanged a series of text messages with his friend. In one of the texts, Tsarnaev said Kadyrbayev could go to "my room and take what's there."
Kadyrbayev, who was 19 at the time, went to the dorm with two other friends, took Tsarnaev's laptop and threw a backpack containing fireworks in a garbage bin. Federal agents later recovered the bag in a landfill after an extensive search. The two friends who accompanied Kadyrbayev are expected to be sentenced Friday.
In court Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said the defendant's actions indicated "callous disregard" for the victims of the bombings.
"He decided to get rid of the evidence to help his friend," she said.
Kadyrbayev told Judge Douglas Woodlock he couldn't account for his behavior.
"I can't find an answer. I really can't believe that I acted so stupidly," he said.
Kadyrbayev will be deported to Kazakhstan after serving his prison term. His lawyer had sought a three year sentence, saying that his client had suffered a "terrible, momentary lapse in judgment."
A jury last month sentenced Tsarnaev to death by lethal injection. His elder brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing.
Three people died and more than 260 were injured when explosives planted by the brothers went off near the marathon's finish line in 2013.
nm/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)