Robel Phillipos, 19, supposedly aided friends of Tsarnaev, one of the two alleged marathon bombers, in disposing of evidence from the Tsarnaev’s University of Massachusetts Dartmouth dorm room. Phillipos is charged with two counts of making false statements.
A native of Cambridge, MA, Phillipos was charged in May, but United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced the indictment this afternoon. On August 13, two others charged in the indictment plead not guilty to federal obstruction of justice charges for tampering with the same aforementioned evidence from the purported bomber’s UMass Dartmouth dorm.
The indictment comes just as it was announced that the 2014 Boston Marathon registration would open Monday, September 2.
Dias Kadyrbayev (DYE’-us kad-uhr-BYE-ev) and Azamat Tazhayakov (AHZ’-maht tuh-ZAYE’-uh-kov), both 19, will appear again in court on September 26 for a status conference.
According to the indictment, Phillipos was interviewed by the Joint Terrorism Task Force during which he failed to disclose that he along with the two others charged had, with Tsarnaev’s own knowledge, entered his dorm room and disposed of a laptop, backpack, and fireworks which authorities quickly found in a New Bedford, MA landfill.
If convicted, Phillipos faces a maximum of eight years in prison for each charge. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to twenty years each in federal prison for their respective charges, meaning Phillipos wasn’t directly involved in tampering with the evidence and only lied to the authorities when asked about it. Additionally, all face up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each charge.
Tsarnaev, of course, stands accused of 30 counts that include conspiracy and use of weapons of mass destruction, to all of which he has plead not guilty. The suspect, along with older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are thought to have been the ones who detonated two, shrapnel filled, explosive devices near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing four and injuring 264.
Of the surviving victims, 34 had limps amputated due to the severity of the wounds incurred during the blasts. Tamerlan was killed after engaging in a shootout with police and being run over by “Jahar” with the getaway car.
Dzhokhar was later pulled, bloody and bruised, from a dry-docked boat in the Boston suburb of Watertown, MA after authorities searched in nearby proximity for the suspect. Authorities found him within blocks of the established crime zone radius.