Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Best Friend's Murder: Interest in Case Renewed

Monday, 22 Apr 2013 02:14 PM

By Michael Mullins

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An unsolved triple homicide two years ago may get a second look for a possible connection to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was killed Thursday night.

In September 2011, three men were found murdered in an apartment in Waltham, Mass., stabbed in the neck with either a knife or ice pick and their bodies covered in marijuana, reported the New York Daily News.

One of the three dead men was 25-year-old Brendan Mess, described as Tsarnaev's "only American friend."

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No one was ever charged for the murder and police believe the victims knew the killer, who was likely let into the apartment because there were no signs of forced entry. At the time, investigators ruled the triple murder as a "targeted and not a random act of violence." Around $5,000 was recovered by police at the scene.

The triple murder case remains open. The Waltham police Department hasn't named any suspects.

"At the time none of would have thought it was Tam," a purported Tsarnaev friend identified only as "Ray" said in an interview with Buzzfeed. "It was just so emotional, and we thought we had someone else who had done it."

Ray said he began to reconsider Tsarnaev's involvement in the triple murder, considering Tsarnaev's suspected involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing.

"Tam wasn't there at the memorial service, he wasn't at the funeral, he wasn't around at all," Ray said. "And he was really close with Brendan. That's why it's so weird."

"[Tsarnaev] was somebody who was in contact with Brendan on a daily basis. Anybody like that you would think they would have been around," added Ray.

Ray said he knew Tsarnaev through the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts gym in Allston, Mass. According to Ray, he was friendly with Tsarnaev, but didn't have a particularly close relationship with him. He described Tsarnaev as "sociable but kind of distant."

After the Boston bombings, Ray and other former associates of Tsarnaev began to reconsider his possible role in the murder of Mess and his roommates Raphael Teken and Erik Weissman.

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"A few of my friends, without even speaking about it beforehand, have all been thinking this," Ray said.

According Ray, Tsarnaev returned from a trip to Russia after Mess' death and was a different person, adding that another mutual friend described him as "hollow."

Related stories:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Was Amateur Boxer, Golden Glove Winner

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Was Devout Muslim, Dead Bombing Suspect's Aunt Says

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