4:40 p.m.: Lawyers for two of the newest suspects maintained that their clients did not know about the Boston bombing plans in a televised statement outside the courtroom Wednesday. Robert Stahl, who is representing Dias Kadyrbayev, said that his client is “very sorry for what happened here in Boston and he had nothing to do with it.” Kadyrbayev is accused of obstruction of justice after throwing away evidence from suspected bomber Tsarnaev’s dorm room. But Kadyrbayev’s lawyer says his client “did not know those items were involved in the bombing.” Similarly, lawyer Harlan J. Protass said his client, Azamat Tazhayakov, felt “horrible” and was “shocked” to learn that someone he knew is suspected of carrying out the bombings. “He looks forward to the truth coming out,” Protass added, “and he considers it an honor to study in the United States.”
4:25 p.m.: The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth released a statement confirming that Dias Kadyrbayez and Robel Phillipos are not currently enrolled, while Azamat Tazhayakov is enrolled, but has been suspended, pending the outcome of the case.
4:10 p.m.: Two of the suspects appeared in a Boston courtroom Wednesday afternoon and waived bail. Azamat Tazhayakov and and Dias Kadyrbayev walked into the court with their heads down, saying nothing. The two students at UMass-Dartmouth are charged with obstructing justice in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Their next hearing will be May 14. A third suspect, Robel Phillipos, is charged with making false statements but did not appear in court today.
The Boston Police Department says that three more suspects have been taken into custody with regard to the Apr. 15 bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three people and injured more than 260.
NBC News and the Boston Globe are reporting that the suspects went to college with alleged 19-year-old Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who authorities say carried out the bombing with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police just three days after the two allegedly detonated pressure cooker bombs at the marathon. The younger Tsarnaev managed to escape and was later caught by police after a day-long manhunt that stretched from the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to the Boston suburb of Watertown where the two brothers lived in a third-floor apartment.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using weapons of mass destruction amid a probe that has led investigators to question anyone who may have known the brothers and their motives. The search led them to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, just 60 miles south of Boston, where Dzhokhar was formerly enrolled. On Wednesday morning, authorities arrested three students from the university in connection with the bombings.
Boston Attorney Linda Cristello told the Associated Press that two out of the three are her clients Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, college students from Kazakhstan who made a video appearance in immigration court Wednesday. They have been held in county jail for over a week due to “allegations that they violated their student visas while attending the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.” The criminal complaint identifies the third suspect as Robel Phillipos, 19, from Cambridge, Mass., the New York Times reports.
The suspects may have helped remove belongings from the Chechen student’s dorm room after the tragedy, sources tell NBC:
Two of the pals were detained April 20 on immigration charges and a third has now been taken into custody, sources said. They are expected to face obstruction of justice charges, the sources said.
There was no indication the three University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth students had any prior knowledge of the bombing.
In addition to obstruction of justice, the students are expected to be charged with making false statements.
A backpack may have also been tossed out at “Tsarnaev’s request,” according to Reuters. CNN is reporting that the backpack may have contained fireworks and that the trash bin was then taken to a landfill in New Bedford, prompting a two-day search at the end of last week. Law enforcement officials also told CNN that investigators were looking for Tsarnaev’s laptop computer.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not reveal any new information about the three arrests at a briefing today, noting that the case is an “ongoing investigation and part of the responsibility of investigators is to explore all possible connections.”
The Boston Police Department stressed that there is “no threat to public safety” as a preface to the statement announcing the arrests.