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Family, friends testify for student who lied about visiting UMass dorm room post-bombing.

Last updated: May 06. 2013 11:56PM - 425 Views

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WORCESTER, Mass. — A magistrate judge on Monday agreed to release a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from federal custody while he awaits trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators.


Robel Phillipos, 19, was charged last week with lying to investigators about visiting Tsarnaev’s college dorm room after the bombings. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student faces a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted.


Prosecutors initially asked that Phillipos be held while he awaits trial, arguing he poses a serious flight risk. But both sides said in a court motion filed Monday they agreed that Phillipos should be released on $100,000 bond, face home confinement and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.


Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin said documents filed over the weekend by Phillipos’ defense attorneys, including many affidavits from family and friends, might be viewed as indirectly questioning the government’s case against Phillipos.


Defense attorney Susan Church emphasized that Phillipos is not accused of helping plan or carry out the bombings.


Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler agreed to the strict house arrest during a hearing Monday afternoon. She told Phillipos he was allowed to leave the house only for meetings with his lawyers or true emergencies. It was not immediately clear when Phillipos would be released.


Meanwhile, a funeral director trying to find a cemetery to take the body of Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan, pledged to ask the city of Cambridge to allow him to be buried in a city-owned cemetery because the brothers lived in Cambridge for the past decade. But Cambridge City Manager Robert Healy said he is urging Tsarnaev’s family not to make the request.


Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan said he hasn’t been able to find a cemetery in Massachusetts willing to accept the remains of Tamerlan, who was killed after a gunbattle with police four days after the bombings.


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