Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ethiopian Robel Phillipos was allegedly involved in helping Boston Bombing suspect

Robel Phillipos, charged with lying to authorities investigating the Boston Marathon bombings, was the first friend to recognize Dzhokar Tsarnaev's photo on TV news and alert the two other university students accused of aiding the suspect, according to the FBI affidavit released Wednesday.
Phillipos, Tsarnaev and Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov attended the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge, was studying marketing, but the university said Wednesday he is not currently enrolled.
With Tsarnaev, he was a 2011 graduate of the prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the city schools' superintendent's office said.
Phillipos, a U.S. citizen, lives with his mother, who is from Ethiopia and works with refugees, WHDH-TV reported. Their Cambridge apartment is next to the gas station where the Tsarnaev brothers carjacked a vehicle before getting into the shootout with police in which 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.
"Robel is a nice boy, very nice kid," said neighbor Tecleverhan Mengistu, who has known the family for 15 years. "He (doesn't) talk too much…he's a very nice boy."
Phillipos, wearing a white T-shirt with blue stripes and sagging, beltless jeans, appeared in court Wednesday afternoon. At one point, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler admonished him, saying, "I suggest you pay attention to me, rather than looking down."
He waived bail until a later date and said he could afford a lawyer. He is due back in court Monday.
If convicted, Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of eight years and a $250,000 fine.