One of Mess' relatives yesterday told investigators they thought it was odd that Tsarnaev did not attend the funerals for his slain friend. The Mess relative also described animosity between the two friends "over Brendan's lifestyle,'' two law enforcement sources said. Because it is an open homicide investigation the sources were not authorized to speak on the record.
"Given how religious the older brother was, and we have heard information from the college about how the younger brother was 'a pot head' is there a chance that Tsarnaev was angry that Brendan was selling his brother marijuana? We don't know,'' said one of those sources. "But we are certainly interested in finding out."
Tsarnaev and Mess had been socializing together in the months before the murder, according to a Massachusetts correction officer who met up with a group of fighters that included Tsarnaev and Mess at a June 2011 Mixed Martial Arts event run by Burlington Brawl, a Vermont-based fighting outfit. Tsarnaev impressed the group with his golden gloves status, but largely kept to himself during the evening.
"We were all drinking beers, but not that guy. He was drinking water,'' the correction officer said.
Freelance writer Michele McPhee is a Boston-based reporter and frequent contributor to ABC News.