BOSTON (CBS) – Law enforcement experts are calling the arrest of a Quincy man accused of obstructing the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings the most significant development since the arrest of Dzhokar Tsarnaev.
Prosecutors allege Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, had dinner with Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev just hours after the attacks, at some point realized the brothers were responsible and then did nothing to alert investigators. He’s also accused of deleting information from his phone and computer related to the investigation.
“This is the most significant information that has come out on this incident since the initial arrests,” former Boston Police Commissioner and current WBZ-TV security analyst Ed Davis said of the charges. “This individual made a conscious decision, from the charges, to obstruct and obscure evidence that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.”
Watch: Ed Davis on WBZ-TV
“This is a very, very serious situation. You have to put this in context, these are unproven allegations right now, but the US Attorney has enough evidence to charge,” he added.
Matanov allegedly had phone conversations with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the days after the bombings. Davis explained that he expects investigators are likely combing through forensic evidence to build a case against Matanov.
“They’re synthesizing cell phone records and computer records, and doing a minute-by-minute analysis of what happened,” Davis said. “And once all of the information is before the jury, it’s up to the jury who’s telling the truth and who isn’t telling the truth; and how far this guy was involved in the acts right after the Marathon.”
Former Middlesex District Attorney and WBZ-TV legal analyst Gerry Leone also says he believes Matanov’s computer and phone could be key to proving a case against him.
“These days a computer is like a file cabinet full of evidence. Often times, you find the most compelling evidence in electronic form, and it’s in black and white. You could read that evidence and the fact you tried to destroy it – or you have destroyed it – leaves a forensic path and trail that analysts and investigators can present to the court,” Leone explained.
Watch: Gerry Leone on WBZ-TV
Leone says in addition to building their case, investigators will also be working determine whether evidence linked to Matanov could provide new leads or shed any additional light on the attacks.
“This could just as soon be an anomaly, he could be just an independent person who came and went in their life during that week. Or it could lead us to a continuum of evidence that leads us to other things,” he said.
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