Robel Phillipos, a friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was “high out of his mind” on marijuana after enjoying several joints, a blunt and a vaporizer the day he allegedly accompanied two men to a UMass Dartmouth dorm where they removed evidence linking Tsarnaev to the deadly bombings.
Testimony began Monday in U.S. District Court in Phillipos’ trial on charges he repeatedly lied to investigators about going to Tsarnaev’s dorm on April 18, 2013 – three days after the terror attack killed three people and injured 264.
Defense attorney Derege Demissie held a gift-wrapped box in front of the jury and said prosecutors were trying to present “a neatly packaged case decorated with the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing.” He then opened the box to show it was empty, and went on to say the 21-year-old did not lie to detectives when he initially told them he did not remember going to the dorm.
“There will be ample evidence… much of it is undisputed that Robel spent the entire day of April 18 smoking marijuana, highly intoxicated, with several friends,” Demissie said. “His memory is jumbled, confused and completely discombobulated.”
Phillipos later admitted to investigators that he did indeed accompany Kazakh exchange students Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev to the room, where they removed a backpack containing empty fireworks shells.
Special Agent Dwight Schwader of the federal Department of Transportation testified Monday that he baited Phillipos during one of five interrogations, saying “maybe he was a little bitch staying out in the hallway acting as a lookout.” Schwader said he wanted to elicit a response from Phillipos, who he claimed had not expressed much emotion.
“He said he wasn’t a little bitch,”, Schwader said.
Phillipos faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty if convicted of carrying out the bombing. His trial is set to begin in January.