A college friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded guilty Thursday to hiding the accused Boston Marathon bomber's laptop and backpack from FBI agents investigating the April 2013 terrorist attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Dias Kadyrbayev was to stand trial next month in federal court in Boston. He is the second of three Tsarnaev friends to go through the justice system before Tsarnaev's capital murder trial, expected to begin in early November.
Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Federal prosecutors advised U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock that they would recommend he serve no more than seven years in prison. If he had been convicted at trial, he could have received 25 years.
Kadyrbayev, 20, wearing a blue shirt and slacks, admitted that he had tried to hide Tsarnaev's belongings after Tsarnaev told him in a text that he was welcome to take anything from Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Asked whether he was guilty, Kadyrbayev said, "Yes," listening through headphones to a Russian interpreter.
He also signed a six-page "stipulation of facts" stating that he had entered the U.S. on a student visa in August 2011, but was dismissed from the university after failing to attend classes. He took an apartment in nearby New Bedford, Mass., where Tsarnaev often visited and became one of his closest friends.
Several days after the bombings, when Tsarnaev's picture was released by the FBI as a suspect, Kadyrbayev texted him and asked, "u saw the news?"
Tsarnaev answered, "Yea bro I did," and warned, "Better not text me my friend."
Tsarnaev then instructed, "If yu want yu can go to my room and take what's there." He added, "Salam aleikum" — a traditional Muslim saying meaning, "Peace to you."
At the dorm room, Kadyrbayev took Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack containing fireworks, a thumb drive and a jar of Vaseline. The backpack and its contents were tossed into a trash bin and later recovered from a landfill. Kadyrbayev hid the computer in his apartment.
His intention, prosecutors said, was "to impede, obstruct and influence an FBI investigation."
Kadyrbayev's roommate, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted in a trial this year and faces up to 25 years in prison. The third defendant, Robel Phillipos, is charged with lying to investigators.
Authorities say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev teamed up with his brother, Tamerlan, on the bomb plot, which also left an MIT police officer dead as the brothers fled. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police a few days after the bombings.Copyright © 2015, CT Now