BOSTON A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Monday that he did not fully understand his constitutional rights and felt intimidated while he was being questioned several days after the deadly attack.
Dias Kadyrbayev, 20, is accused of removing a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev three days after the April 15, 2013, bombing. Prosecutors say Tsarnaev had texted Kadyrbayev after the FBI released his photo and told him he could go to his room and “take what’s there.”
Kadyrbayev, a native of Kazakhstan, testified during a hearing on his request to suppress statements he made to authorities. His lawyers have said he was not proficient enough in English to understand the written forms he signed or to understand his rights while he was being interrogated.
Kadyrbayev described intense moments when police with long rifles and federal agents swarmed his apartment building on April 19, 2013, after authorities said Tsarnaev fled on foot following a gun battle with police in Watertown. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who authorities say also took part in the bombings, was killed during the shootout.
Kadyrbayev said after police ordered him, his girlfriend and his roommate outside, he was handcuffed and put into the back of a car. He said an FBI agent got into the car and began swearing at him.
“He said, kind of like, `Hey, listen to me, where the (expletive) is Dzhokhar?’ and I was like, `I don’t know, man, I don’t know,”‘ Kadyrbayev said.
The agent testified last month that he never used vulgarity with Kadyrbayev.
Kadyrbayev said later, while he was still in the police car, he heard over the radio that Tsarnaev had been captured. Authorities say the Tsarnaev brothers built and planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
During cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann showed Kadyrbayev emails, text messages and his application to attend UMass, all written by him in English. She also pointed out that Kadyrbayev had never requested a translator during several court appearances he has had since his arrest a year ago.
Kadyrbayev said he was kept in a car outside state police barracks for hours, then brought inside and questioned for hours. He said that after an agent gave him a Miranda form, he asked, “Do I need a lawyer?”
“He said, `oh no, no, no, you are not under arrest, you try to help us out,”‘ Kadyrbayev said.
“After that, I signed it,” Kadyrbayev said.
Kadyrbayev was driven home by agents at about 5 a.m. but FBI and Homeland Security agents returned to his apartment about 10 hours later. He said he was handcuffed again and told he was being taken to Boston because of an immigration violation. Kadyrbayev said he was again given a Miranda form and signed it.
The hearing was scheduled to continue Thursday with additional cross-examination.