Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was killed Thursday, was friends with a man who was killed in a gruesome unsolved triple homicide in 2011 — a murder that Tsarnaev’s violent end has brought back into the spotlight.
Tsarnaev, who once said, “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them,” in photo essay about his boxing, did consider 25-year-old Brendan Mess his “best friend.” According to a Boston Globe profile of Tsarnaev and his brother, the elder Tsarnaev introduced Mess to the owner of a gym he attended, and described him as his best friend.
Mess was found dead in his apartment in Waltham, Mass., on September 12, 2011, as was Raphael Teken, 37, of Waltham, and Erik Weissman, 31, of Cambridge, Mass. Police said the killings were “targeted and not a random act of violence,” and two other men were in the apartment before the murder, but those two men have never been identified.
Investigators indicated the three victims had “sharp force injuries of the neck,” and $5,000 was left at the scene, according to Waltham Patch. A neighbor told reporters there was a woman who ran out of the apartment saying there was “blood everywhere” and “marijuana all over their bodies.” Police did not confirm that there was marijuana on the bodies.
Waltham police said the case is still open, but no arrests have ever been made and no suspects named. Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said in a statement two months after the murders that, “based on the present state of the investigation, it is believed that the victims knew the assailant or assailants, and the attacks were not random.”
Two neighbors who asked to remain anonymous told the Boston Globe they believed Teken was a drug dealer, saying he “rarely left the house and had a steady stream of visitors.”