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Investigators Probe Possible Link Between Bombing Suspect and Unsolved Murder

April 23, 2013 By:
JTA
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Two explosions went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Photo by David L. Ryan/Getty Images

NEW YORK — Boston-area investigators are considering a possible link between the dead suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and a 2011 murder case.

A spokesperson for the Middlesex County District Attorney told the Boston Globe on Monday that prosecutors were eager to pursue new leads into an unsolved triple murder in the Boston suburb of Waltham following reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev knew one of the dead men.

Brendan Mess, Rafael Teken and Erik Weissman were found dead in September 2011 in an apartment several miles from the campus of Brandeis University.  Weissman and Teken were Jewish. According to the Globe, Tsarnaev knew Mess, the third victim, well but did not attend his funeral despite once referring to him as his "best friend."

Tsarnaev, 26, was killed last week in a firefight with police. His brother and alleged accomplice in the marathon bombings, Dzhokhar, 19, was apprehended by police late last Friday and is being held under guard in a Boston hospital.

According to sources cited Tuesday by The Associated Press, officials believe the brothers were motivated by an anti-American, radical version of Islam following the questioning of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who wrote his answers because he is wounded in his throat and is unable to speak.

The alleged bomber said the brothers did not receive any direct financing from other governments or rogue groups overseas.

The FBI reportedly said that surveillance-camera footage showed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev playing with his cellphone immediately before the two explosions.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged Monday at his bedside in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with using a “weapon of mass destruction” -- a charge that could bring the death penalty.

The brothers were identified as suspects after authorities reviewed photos and video taken on the afternoon of the marathon on April 15, when two bombs killed three people and wounded more than 170.

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