A college friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison after he apologized to the victims and their families for not calling police when he recognized photos of Tsarnaev as a suspect.
Dias Kadyrbayev, 21, pleaded guilty last year to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges for removing items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after recognizing his friend in photos released by the FBI days after the bombing.
Prosecutors say Kadyrbayev knew Tsarnaev was a suspect soon after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his brother on April 18, 2013, three days after the bombing.
At about 8:45 p.m. that night, Kadyrbayev sent Tsarnaev a text message: “U saw the news?”
In a reply text, Tsarnaev said he did, then said, “Better not text me my friend,” and added, “Lol.”
Kadyrbayev texted back, “u saw urself in there?”
Tsarnaev responded by telling him he could go to his dorm room and “take what’s there.”
That’s when Kadyrbayev went to Tsarnaev’s room with two other friends. There, he and another man agreed to remove Tsarnaev’s computer and a backpack containing fireworks that had been partially emptied of their explosive powder. Kadyrbayev threw the backpack into a garbage dumpster. It was later recovered at a landfill after federal agents spent two days searching for it.
Kadyrbayev said Tuesday that he had no explanation for his actions.
“I can’t find an answer. I really can’t believe that I acted so stupidly,” he told Judge Douglas Woodlock before his sentence was imposed.
Kadyrbayev had faced up to seven years in prison under a plea agreement with prosecutors. His lawyer had sought a three-year sentence.
He will get credit for the 26 months he’s been in custody and will be deported to his native Kazakhstan when his prison term is up.
In a sentencing memo filed in court, prosecutors said Kadyrbayev had the power to help law enforcement identify Tsarnaev and prevent additional violence, possibly including the murder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers as they tried to flee after the FBI released their photos. Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan, died after a shootout with police.