On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN that the three University of Massachusetts Dartmouth college students arrested Wednesday on charges related to the Boston Marathon bombings should also be charged as accessories to the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was allegedly killed by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev on April 18.
“These three young men could have prevented the death of Officer Collier, probably. They were aware by six, seven o’clock that night that these two guys were the bombers.
“If they had done what decent young men should do, which is call the police, given the focus of that investigation, given the number of resources the FBI had brought, the Boston police, given how effective they were investigating, they would have gotten these guys in an hour or two. “
“I would charge as predicate acts of conspiracy the murder of officer Collier, the shooting of the other officer and the kidnapping all of which were foreseeable consequences of them joining a conspiracy to help those guys flee.”
“That’s what they are joining right? I’d be seeking twenty, thirty years in jail.”
But noted criminal defense attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz disagreed.
Speaking to Breitbart News, Dershowitz said: “I have an enormous amount of respect for Rudy, but I think when he was a U.S. Attorney he would not have stretched the law so far as to charge people who were conspiring to obstruct justice with the unpredictable consequences of their conduct.
“I don’t think this [the murder] was foreseeable.”
Kazakhstan nationals Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and naturalized American citizen Robel Phillipos, all three of whom attended UMass Dartmouth for some time between fall 2011 and spring 2013, were arrested on Wednesday. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and Phillipos was charged with lying to investigators.
If they are liable for Officer Collier’s murder, it is also possible that under the “felony murder” doctrine, Kadyrbayev ,Tazhayakov, and Phillipos may actually be responsible for two murders–that of Officer Collier and also alleged “Suspect #1,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The felony murder doctrine holds that all participants in a felony may (in certain jurisdictions) be charged with murder for any murders that result in furtherance of that felony.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wrote at the OLR Research Report in 2008 that the felony murder doctrine applies in cases where it can be argued that a murder was a “natural and probable consequence” of their alleged involvement in the felonies for which they were charged.
Given the knowledge that at the time the felonies were allegedly committed Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos would have had reason to know that the brothers were terrorists on the run, the murders of Officer Collier and Tamerlan Tsarnaev may very well fit this standard.
The cause of death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has not been released. It has been reported in several media outlets that the cause of death may have been his brother Dzhokhar running over him with a car. Tsarnaev’s body was also riddled with bullets from officers and FBI agents.
Dershowitz, again, disagreed: “The murder has to be foreseeable for the felony murder doctrine to apply. It’s too much of a stretch.”
Marian Ryan, who was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as the new Middlesex County District Attorney on April 23, is the prosecutor who will make the decisions on who to charge with the murder of officer Collier.
Breitbart News reached out to Stephanie Guyotte, spokesperson for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office to learn if, when, and against whom District Attorney Ryan plans to file charges in the murder of officer Collier, but received no response prior to publication.
Late Thursday, Ms. Guyotte of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office sent this email to Breitbart News: “The shooting of Officer Collier remains under investigation, so I can not comment further.”
Joel B. Pollak contributed to this report.