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Boston suspect under scrutiny in unsolved killings

 This May 4, 2013 police photo provided by the Orange County Corrections Department in Orlando, Fla., shows Ibragim Todashev after his arrest for aggr...

Boston Marathon Shooting

This May 4, 2013 police photo provided by the Orange County Corrections Department in Orlando, Fla., shows Ibragim Todashev after his arrest for aggr...

A year and a half before the Boston Marathon bombing, the man bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev called his best friend died in a grisly crime: He was one of three men found nearly decapitated in an apartment, their throats slashed ear to ear, marijuana sprinkled over their bodies.
Now authorities are trying to determine whether the now-dead Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen from Russia, had a hand in the unsolved triple slaying.
That investigation came into sharper focus on Wednesday, when another friend of Tsarnaev's, Ibragim Todashev, was shot to death in Florida after allegedly trying to attack an FBI agent while he was being questioned.
Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the investigation, told The Associated Press that Todashev had implicated himself in the 2011 killings before he was shot.
The officials said they did not know if Todashev, who also was from Russia, had also implicated Tsarnaev.
After the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260, prosecutors said they would investigate any links between Tsarnaev and the triple killings. Tsarnaev died April 19 after a shootout with police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and charged in the bombing.
Prosecutors would not discuss the triple slaying or whether they believe Tsarnaev and Todashev were involved.
The motive for the killings is unclear. At the time, prosecutors said they believed the victims knew their killer or killers.
One of the victims, 25-year-old Brendan Mess, was a boxer, like Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev described Mess as his "best friend" to the owner of the gym where he and Mess worked out, The Boston Globe reported.
Christopher Medeiros, who described himself a close friend of Mess, said he believes the killings were drug-related. He said Mess and another one of the victims, Erik Weissman, were marijuana dealers and had been trying to start a major growing operation.
"The Friday before he died, (Mess) told me, `Listen, I'm getting ready to make this big move,'" Medeiros said. "And I think that's what cost him his life."
Medeiros said he did not see any signs of tension between Tsarnaev and Mess.
Medeiros said Mess began spending time with Tsarnaev in late 2010 or early 2011. The two were part of a group of people who hung out together smoking marijuana, Medeiros said. Tsarnaev stood out a bit because he "didn't really smoke weed at all," Medeiros said. Still, Tsarnaev seemed to get along especially well with Mess, Medeiros said.
The FBI gave no details on why it was interested in Todashev except to say that he was being questioned as part of the Boston investigation. But some of Todashev's former roommates said that he knew Tsarnaev from athletic circles in Boston and that the two might have trained together.
In an interview with the AP, Todashev's wife, Reni Manukyan, 24, confirmed her husband knew Tsarnaev, but said she has no reason to think they had anything more than social ties.
As for the victims of the triple slaying _ Mess, Weissman and Raphael Teken _ "we never knew any of them," Manukyan said.
Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay in Boston, David B. Caruso in New York and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Updated : 2021-05-07 13:34 GMT+08:00