By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - A friend of the Boston Marathon bomber who admitted to obstructing the investigation into the deadly 2013 blast, one of the highest-visibility attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan national Dias Kadyrbayev was one of three friends to face federal charges for removing a backpack containing fireworks from bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's college dorm hours after the FBI released photos of the suspect and his older brother.
Federal prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Kadyrbayev, who pleaded guilty in August after his roommate and fellow Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted of obstruction of justice.
Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 others with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line. A jury sentenced him to die by lethal injection for his crimes.
The stepfather of a police officer who was shot dead by the Tsarnaev brothers at about the time Kadyrbayev was visiting the dorm said in a court filing that the defendant could have saved his stepson's life if he had immediately told the FBI he suspected Tsarnaev was one of the bombers.
"The impact this crime has had on our family is immeasurable," said Joseph Rogers, whose stepson Sean Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed by the Tsarnaevs. "Every day is a struggle knowing that he is gone and being aware of the circumstances surrounding his murder, specifically that it could absolutely have been prevented."
Kadyrbayev will be able to speak at the hearing where U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock sets his sentence, although he is under no obligation to do so.
Tazhayakov, who was found guilty by a jury of the same charges, and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was convicted of the lesser charge of lying to investigators, are set for sentencing on Friday.
Prosecutors are seeking a four-year sentence for Tazhayakov, because he had agreed to testify against Tsarnaev at trial, although he was not called to the witness stand.
The charges against the three men trace back to the evening of April 18, 2013, three days after the bombing, when the FBI released photos of the Tsarnaev brothers, saying they were suspects in the bombing.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)