Robel Phillipos, shown at a May 2013 court appearance in Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday in charges of making false statements to a fedeal law enforcement official in connection with the Boston bombings. / Jane Flavell Collins AP
A third college friend of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Boston on two counts of making false statements involving the removal of evidence from Tsarnaev's dorm room three days after the fatal attack.
Robel Phillipos, 19, who was previously by complaint in the case, was indicted on two counts of of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer during the investigation of the April 15 bombings that killed 3 people and injured more than 250.
The indictment charges that Phillipos, along with two other friends of Tsarnaev, Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19, went to his dorm room at UMass Dartmouth and took Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks.
They went to the dorm room, the document charges, in response to a text message from Tsarnaev asking them to "take what's there."
Tsarnaev had sent the text after the FBI distributed photos of him and his 27-year-old brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
The indictment charged that Phillipos, when questioned by law enforcement officials, "concealed the fact" that the three had gone to Tsarnaev's room and removed the backpack, among other items.
"In so doing, he made numerous false and misleading statements to the agents," the indictment alleges.
If convicted, Phillipos faces a maximum penalty of up to 16 years in federal prison.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both 19-year-old students from Kazakhstan, were charged three weeks ago with conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the bombing investigation.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during a shootout with police three days after the bombings. Dzhokhar fled the scene, but was found the following day badly wounded hiding in a boat in the backyard of a house n Watertown, Mass.
He has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts of a federal indictment in connecting with the bombings.
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