Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a triple homicide outside Boston in 2011, an acquaintance told investigators before being fatally shot, say court documents in the Boston Marathon bombing case against his younger brother.
Court documents filed this week in the case against alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev provide the first official confirmation that authorities consider his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed while fleeing law enforcement officials days after the deadly April bombing, a suspect in a triple homicide outside Boston on Sept. 11, 2011.
According to the documents, Ibragim Todashev, an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was fatally shot at his Orlando home in May while being questioned by an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers, said Tamerlan took part in the 2011 killings in Waltham, a Boston suburb. Authorities said Mr. Todashev became violent during questioning.
Todashev was a mixed martial arts fighter who had become acquainted with Tamerlan Tsarnaev through the sport.
The three men killed in the Waltham slayings – Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman, and Raphael Teken – were found in an apartment with their necks slit and their bodies covered with marijuana. One of the three men, Mr. Mess, was a boxer, and Tsarnaev’s friend, according to the New York Times.
Monday’s court filing was an attempt by the prosecution to block Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team from getting certain information from authorities, including investigative documents on the Waltham murders, according to the Associated Press.
"Any benefit to [Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev of knowing more about the precise 'nature and extent' of his brother's involvement does not outweigh the potential harm of exposing details of an ongoing investigation into an extremely serious crime, especially at this stage of the proceeding," prosecutors wrote in the filing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have been seeking to force the government to share investigative materials pertaining to the 2011 Waltham murders with the defense. Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyers say the elder Tsarnaev’s role in the murders might be a mitigating factor in the case against Dzhokhar, according to Reuters.