FBI: Boston Bombing Suspect Considered Opening a Starbucks in Kazakhstan
By MICHELE McPHEE
BOSTON - There is an alternate reality in which, rather than facing the death penalty for allegedly killing four people including an 8-year-old boy, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pouring coffee behind a Starbucks counter in Kazakhstan.
It's a reality that could have come to pass, according to an FBI agent who testified in a Boston court today about statements Tsarnaev's friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, made to investigators.
Relating a conversation that took place sometime before the bombing, Kadyrbayev said "he was going to start a business with Dzhokhar," FBI Special Agent Steven Schiliro testified. The duo wanted to "open a Starbucks in Kazakhstan."
Schiliro said Kadyrbayev also asked about joining the FBI and joked about 4:20, "the time of day people who smoke marijuana celebrate smoking marijuana."
The bizarre testimony came during a suppression hearing at a federal court in Boston. Defense attorneys for Kadyrbayev, his roommate Azmat Tazhaykov, and Robel Phillipos want statements the trio made to the FBI after the Boston Marathon bombing tossed out because they had not been arrested when they were interviewed and were not in the presence of an attorney.
The trio came to the attention of law enforcement because investigators say Tsarnaev communicated with the young men days after he and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Later, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to dispose of a backpack containing Tsarnaev's laptop and fireworks. Phillipos is charged with lying to investigators. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Tsarnaev faces 30 counts related to the bombing, which killed three people, and to the subsequent murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted. Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout with police days after the blasts.
Michele McPhee is a Boston-based freelance reporter and frequent contributor to ABC News.