Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Trial: Who’s Who

THE DEFENDANT

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Along with his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, has been accused of planting the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon which killed three people and injured more than 260 others in April 2013. He is also accused of killing MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

The brothers allegedly led police on a chase to Watertown where they were involved in a shootout where Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped and led law enforcement authorities on a day long manhunt. A Watertown resident eventually found him hiding in a boat parked in the backyard of the home.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 2009 booking photo. (Image courtesy: Cambridge Police)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s 2009 booking photo. (Image courtesy: Cambridge Police)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev is Dzhokhar’s older brother. He was killed several days after the attack in a shootout with police in Watertown. Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say Tamerlan had been radicalized and spearheaded the attacks. Investigators believe Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also involved in a 2011 triple murder in Waltham, although he was never formally named a suspect.

Though deceased, Tamerlan and his relationship with his brother, along with the role he played on Marathon day and the days following, will be crucial elements in the trial.

THE JUDGE

George A. O’Toole
U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole is presiding over the trial. O’Toole also presided over the 2012 high profile and highly controversial terrorism-related case of Tarek Mehanna. O’Toole sentenced Mehanna to 17 ½ years in federal prison.

THE DEFENSE TEAM

Miriam Conrad
Miriam Conrad is a high-profile public defender. She has been the Federal Public Defender for Mass., New Hampshire and Rhode Island since 2005, and has defended terror suspects including shoe-bomber Richard Reid and Rezwan Ferdaus, who was accused of plotting to blow up the Pentagon using model planes.

Judy Clarke
Judy Clarke is a former public defender turned nationally-renowned private lawyer in San Diego. Clarke has previously tried many high profile death penalty cases including Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, Atlanta Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who murdered her three children, and most recently Tucson shooter Jared Loughner.

David Bruck
David Bruck is a death penalty expert and professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Timothy Watkins
Tim Watkins is an Assistant Federal Public Defender and a member of Tsarnaev’s defense team.

William Fick
William Fick is an Assistant Federal Public Defender and a member of Tsarnaev’s defense team.

THE PROSECUTION TEAM

William Weinreb
Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb is leading the prosecution team. He was part of the team that prosecuted Tarek Mehanna, who was convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaida. Weinreb also was involved in the case of Faisal Shahzad, who was accused of attempting to set off a car bomb in Times Square in 2010.

Aloke Chakravarty
Assistant US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty is a member of the prosecution team. He led the prosecution of Tarek Mehanna, and was part of the prosecution team in the Faisal Shahzad case.

Nadine Pellegrini
Assistant US Attorney Nadine Pellegrini is a member of the prosecution team.

Donald Cabell
Assistant US Attorney Donald Cabell is a member of the prosecution team.

Steven Mellin
Mellin is a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice.

POTENTIAL WITNESSES

Robel Phillipos

Robel Phillipos. (WBZ-TV)

Robel Phillipos. (WBZ-TV)

Robel Phillipos, 20, a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since high school, found himself in legal trouble after the Marathon bombings. Phillipos was found guilty of lying to federal authorities about where he was after the bombings. Phillipos confessed to authorities he was in Tsarnaev’s dorm room days after the bombings and saw two friends take Tsarnaev’s backpack which contained fireworks and disposing it at a nearby landfill.

Phillipos may be called to testify at Tsarnaev’s trial.

Azamat Tazhayakov
Azamat Tazhayakov (WBZ-TV)

Azamat Tazhayakov (WBZ-TV graphic)


Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, is Dzohkhar’s friend and classmate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

In July 2014, Tazhayakov was found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice after prosecutors said he and a friend disposed of a backpack containing Dzohkhar’s laptop, fireworks, and other potential evidence from Dzohkhar’s dorm room just days after the bombings.

Tazhayakov testified in the Robel Phillipos trial. Tazhayakov’s lawyer says he is willing to testify at Tsarnaev’s trial.

Dias Kadyrbayev
Azamat Tazhayakov (left) and Dias Kadyrbayev (middle) with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square in 2012. (Photo via vk.com)

Azamat Tazhayakov (left) and Dias Kadyrbayev (middle) with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square in 2012. (Photo via vk.com)


Dias Kadyrbayev is Dzohkhar Tsarnaev’s friend and classmate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He is also Azamat Tazhayakov’s roommate.

Kadyrbayev and Tsarnaev exchanged texts days after the Marathon bombings in which Tsarnaev allegedly instructed Kadyrbayev to take items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov allegedly disposed of a backpack containing Dzohkhar’s laptop, fireworks, and other potential evidence.

In August 2014, Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

“Danny”
Danny, whose real name was concealed to protect his identity, was allegedly carjacked at gunpoint by the Tsarnaev brothers on the night MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed. Danny told authorities he drove the Tsarnaev brothers to a nearby gas station and managed to escape. Danny is the sole witness who told authorities that Tamerlan Tsarnaev confessed to the bombings and to killing Collier.
Khairullozhon Matanov
Khairullozhon Matanov. (Facebook photo)

Khairullozhon Matanov. (Facebook photo)


In May 2014, Quincy cab driver Khairullozhon Matanov, a 23-year-old Kyrgyzstan national, was arrested and charged with lying to investigators and destroying evidence, which may have impeded on the bombing investigation.

Prosecutors say Matanov kept in frequent contact with the Tsarnaev brothers and even took the brothers out to dinner on the night after the bombings.

Matanov allegedly lied about his communications with the Tsarnaev brothers and got rid of information on his computer and cell phone.

Stephen Silva
Stephen Silva attended high school with Dzohkhar Tsarnaev.
In December 2014, Silva was found guilty of heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with a defaced serial number.

Investigators believe that same handgun was used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier. The gun was found in Watertown at the scene of the shootout between police and the Tsarnaevs, where older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

Richard ‘Dic’ Donahue
Dic Donohue (CBS)

Dic Donohue (WBZ-TV)


MBTA police officer Richard ‘Dic’ Donahue was wounded in a shootout between police and the Tsarnaev brothers in Watertown on April 19, 2013. Donahue was shot in the right groin area which severed his femoral artery, and he nearly bled to death.

Donahue has said numerous times publicly that he does not remember much about the night.

Jeff Bauman
Jeff Bauman (WBZ-TV)

Jeff Bauman (WBZ-TV)


From his hospital bed, days recovering from the bombings, Jeff Bauman — who lost both legs during the attack — reportedly provided key information to investigators to help them identify the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects. Investigators say Bauman picked Tamerlan Tsarnaev from a photo, identifying him as the man who dropped a backpack which detonated next to where Bauman stood.
Katherine Russell
Katherine Russell in 2007. (Photo courtesy: Warwick, RI Police)

Katherine Russell in 2007. (Photo courtesy: Warwick, RI Police)


Katherine Russell is the widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. She, along with their 3-year-old daughter Zahara, lived in the Cambridge home where investigators found key evidence allegedly suggesting Tamerlan had been planning an attack. It’s unclear how much information, if any, Russell knew prior to the bombings. Russell, who now lives in New Jersey with the Tsarnaev’s two sisters, was never named a suspect. She has never spoken in public about the events leading to Tamerlan’s death. Unlike other members of her family – including her parents—she was never called before a grand jury.
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