Prosecutors say Boston Marathon bombing suspect told mother he didn't expect to live

The Associated Press
June 3, 2014 06:38 AM

BOSTON - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told his mother in an email days after the explosions that he expected to die, federal prosecutors said in court filings.

Tsarnaev wrote the email in the hours before the slaying of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier and the police shootout that took his brother's life, prosecutors said.

"If I don't see you in this life I will see you in the akhira," prosecutors say he wrote. In Arabic, akhirah refers to the afterlife.

Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to several federal charges. Prosecutors allege he and his brother, both ethnic Chechens who emigrated from Russia, planted two pressure cooker bombs near the marathon's finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Tsarnaev is awaiting a trial in November andfaces the possibility of the death penalty. His brother was killed during the gunbattle with police four days after the marathon bombing.

Prosecutors filed the court papers Monday to argue against a motion by Tsarnaev's lawyers to suppress evidence seized from a Cambridge apartment where Tsarnaev once lived, as well as his University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room.

"These circumstances leave little doubt that when Tsarnaev left the Norfolk Street apartment on April 18, he did not expect to return alive, and thus abandoned his expectation of privacy in everything left behind," prosecutors wrote.

The U.S. attorney's office also argued that Tsarnaev had essentially moved out of the apartment and thus had no expectation of privacy. Prosecutors also denied the defence's contention that the search was overly broad.

Tsarnaev did not pay rent and was not on the lease, prosecutors said, and was instead living in his dorm room full time. Although he kept a few items in the Cambridge apartment, he has not demonstrated a reasonable expectation of privacy, they said.

Prosecutors also defended their searches of a laptop owned by the suspect, because he gave it away to a friend and never expected to see it again.

Also Tuesday, a friend of Tsarnaev acknowledged he suspected his friend was involved in the bombings when he removed items from Tsarnaev's dorm room several days after the deadly attack.

Dias Kadyrbayev's testimony came during a federal court hearing on his request to suppress statements he made to authorities while being questioned about Tsarnaev.

Kadrybayev conceded during cross-examination that he told agents he suspected Tsarnaev was being sought in the bombings when he and another of Tsarnaev's friends, Azamat Tazhayakov, went to Tsarnaev's room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The two men are accused of trying to obstruct the investigation into the bombings by throwing away Tsarnaev's backpack containing fireworks.

"You said you didn't know for sure that he was the bomber, that you suspected he was the bomber, correct?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann.

"Yes, that's correct," Kadyrbayev replied.

Kadyrbayev testified Monday that he felt intimidated and pressured by agents who questioned him the day after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombings. Two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the April 15, 2013, marathon killed three people and injured more than 260.

Kadyrbayev's lawyer argues that Kadyrbayev — a native of Kazakhstan — was not proficient enough in English to fully understand the forms he signed giving authorities permission to question him without a lawyer.

Kadyrbayev said that after one of the agents showed him a summary of his statements, he objected when he saw the agent had written that Kadyrbayev said he "knew" Tsarnaev was the bombing suspect when he removed items from his dorm room. He said he asked the agent to change the word "knew" to "suspected."

Siegmann attempted to demonstrate that Kadyrbayev fully understood the forms he signed. She showed him transcripts of two recorded jailhouse phone conversations he had with his girlfriend. In one, when he is talking about a form he signed giving consent for agents to search his apartment, Kadrybayev said, "Everything that we did — everything that I did, everything that I signed, I signed it on my own," according to the transcript.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock did not rule on Kadyrbayev's motion to suppress. He said he would allow prosecutors and Kadyrbayev's lawyer to submit written briefs and make oral arguments during a hearing in August.

Woodlock denied a request from Kadyrbayev's lawyer to elicit testimony from a state trooper and an attorney who claimed to represent Kadyrbayev while he was being questioned.

Prosecutors said last month that a lawyer called the state police barracks where Kadyrbayev was being questioned. The lawyer said he had been contacted by the state's public defender agency and told to call the barracks.

Woodlock denied the request, saying the issue was not relevant to Kadyrbayev's motion to suppress.

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