Boston marathon bombing suspect’s friend, Robel Phillipos, found guilty on two counts of lying to FBI agents and now faces 16 years in prison. Phillipos witnessed two friends of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dxhokar Tsarnaev removing potential evidence from inside Tsarnaev’s University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dormitory room on April 18, 2013. Phillipos is now facing not one but two possible 8 year prison sentences, as well as a $250,000.00 fine, when he is sentenced in Boston federal courts in January. The conviction surrounds the issue that had been raised when Phillipos decided to lie to FBI agents about the fact that he had indeed been in the dorm room and had witnessed two friends of Tsarnaev removing several key pieces of evidence at the time.
Phillipos lied to federal investigators about not being in the dorm room, as well as about not witnessing the removal of material including a backpack full of fireworks and a computer, both allegedly belonging to Tsarnaev. “He could have been helpful but decided to conceal and lie to agents instead,” U.S. district attorney-Massachusetts, said in a statement on Tuesday. The incident took place in the midst of an intense manhunt for Tsarnaev, merely three days following the Boston marathon bombing. The items were removed by friends of Tsarnaev, Diaz Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, who have both been subsequently convicted of obstruction of justice.
Michael Dukakis, 1988 Democratic presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor, was called to testify on behalf of Phillipos. Dukakis was an old friend of the family and he received a call from Phillipos only five days after the Boston marathon bombing. During the phone conversation, Phillipos told Dukakis that he was questioned by the FBI for five hours and was quite confused. He added that he really did not remember anything that he said. This has led defense attorney Demissie to a couple of very interesting conclusions and has provided Phillipos with the possibility of hope when all is said and done.
Defense attorney Demissie stated that Phillipos was simply a 19-year-old whose confession was coerced by FBI agents. He added that heavy marijuana use played a major role in the incident at hand. Further court appearances are in the very near future for Phillipos as Demissie is already planning on asking for an appeal. This is based on the argument that all statements made to federal agents were not material and that the convictions should, in fact, be vacated. Spending 16 years in prison is a hard pill to swallow, but for Phillipos, the Boston marathon bombing suspect’s friend, the possibility of an appeal will easily keep hope alive.
Phillipos, a U.S. citizen who lives with his mother, was said to work with refugees and is already labeled by his neighbors. In fact one neighbor in particular, who has known the family for 15 years, stated that, “He’s a really nice boy who (doesn’t) talk much.”
One thing that took several individuals by surprise was something that occurred at the time of the bail hearing. You see, even while facing 16 years in prison, this Boston marathon bombing suspect’s friend opted to waive bail stating that he could afford a lawyer. During his fourth interview with investigators, Phillipos admitted that he noticed a back pack full of fireworks that had been emptied of their powder. The backpack was later recovered in a New Bedford landfill.
Written By Robert Littlejohn
Photo By NNECAPA Photo Library – Flickr License