A one-time friend of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is fighting to prevent the family of slain MIT Officer Sean Collier from giving impact statements when he is sentenced Tuesday for impeding the terrorism investigation.
Attorneys for Dias Kadyrbayev said Collier family members are not victims of his crime and should not have the ability to give victim-impact statements.
“As human beings, we and our client understand the deep and abiding grief of this family, and the need to express that grief, honor the deceased’s memory, and assign blame for an unimaginable loss,” wrote Kadyrbayev’s attorney Robert G. Stahl. “Nonetheless, as advocates, it is our duty to object to the victim impact statements or testimony for which there is no legal right under the statute, and no relevance to the factors that this Court must consider in determining a sentence.”
Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. He admitted to taking a backpack containing fireworks and other evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and throwing them in a dumpster. He also grabbed a laptop computer authorities later recovered at Kadyrbayev’s New Bedford apartment.
Federal prosecutors filed a memorandum asking U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to sentence Kadyrbayev to seven years behind bars. Joseph Rogers, Collier’s stepfather, filed a victim impact statement with the court saying Kadyrbayev could have stopped the carnage.
“Had the defendant notified the police, rather than cover up for the alleged terrorists, it may have prevented the murder of Sean, the almost fatal wounding of MBTA Police Officer Richard Donahue and the gun fight in Watertown where the Tsarnaev brothers attempted to murder of at least six Watertown police officers,” he wrote.
Collier’s sister wants to testify at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, but Kadyrbayev is fighting to keep her out of court. He argues that Tsarnaev and his dead older brother, Tamerlan, killed Collier, and Kadyrbayev had nothing to do with it.
“He has admitted that he acted with the intent to obstruct the bombing investigation when he concealed the laptop in his dorm room,” Stahl wrote. “He has pled guilty and faces the Court for his sentence. Dias, however, is not responsible for the tragic death of Officer Collier. The Tsarnaev brothers alone are responsible for the murder of Sean Collier.”