Friend Of Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced To Federal Prison

(Adds sentencing for Kadyrbayev, comments made in court)

By Elizabeth Barber and Scott Malone

BOSTON, June 2 (Reuters) - A friend of the Boston Marathon bomber, who admitted to obstructing the investigation of the deadly 2013 blast, apologized on Tuesday for his actions at a hearing where he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Kazakhstan national Dias Kadyrbayev was one of three friends of bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to face federal charges for removing a backpack containing fireworks from Tsarnaev's college dorm, hours after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother, identifying them as suspects in the bombing.

Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to the charges in August after his roommate and fellow Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted of obstruction of justice.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock sentenced him to six years in federal prison, less than the seven years prosecutors had sought.

"I want to start by saying how truly sorry I am for all the victims, their families, their friends, what happened at the Boston Marathon," Kadyrbayev told the court. "I am ashamed by my actions. I know my bad decision put shame on my name."

Prosecutors never alleged that Kadyrbayev or the friends who accompanied him to Tsarnaev's dorm room had any advance knowledge of the April 15, 2013, bombing. The incident, in which three people were killed and 264 injured, is one of the highest-profile attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is as serious an obstruction offense as I can find, or as I suppose I can hypothesize," said U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, who will rule on the sentence later on Tuesday.

Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the bombing. He was also found guilty of shooting dead a police officer on the evening of April 18, 2013, at around the time Kadyrbayev and his friends were visiting Tsarnaev's dorm room.

Tazhayakov, who was found guilty by a jury of the same charges, and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was convicted of the lesser charge of lying to investigators, are due to be sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors are seeking a four-year sentence for Tazhayakov, because he had agreed to testify against Tsarnaev at trial, although he was not called to the witness stand. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)



Boston Bombing Trial Evidence