A talented artist and now, bombing suspect's wife

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2013 at 8:09 am •  Published: April 23, 2013
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Mahdee told The Associated Press Tsarnaeva called him saying she and Tsarnaev wanted to get married. Mahdee asked if they had the requisite licenses and she said yes.

Mahdee performed the 15-minute ceremony in the mosque office. Two witnesses were present, but Mahdee does not remember who they were.

"They requested that it was a simple wedding," Mahdee said.

Both seemed happy, he said.

"They seemed like two people who were getting ready to get married," Mahdee said.

Mahdee said he never saw the couple again and that they never attended his mosque.

The couple had a daughter and lived with her in the Tsarnaev family apartment, which was shared over the years with his mother, Zubeidat, and father, Anzor, now divorced, and Dzhokhar, DeLuca said. He said Tsarnaeva rarely saw her brother-in-law there because he was living in the dorms at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's relatives have said that in recent years he became a devout Muslim and prayed five times a day. DeLuca said the couple attended the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, although the mosque's executive assistant, Nichole Mossalam, said that Tsarnaeva had never been there to her knowledge.

Leaders at the mosque say Tamerlan Tsarnaev did attend and in recent months had outbursts during two sermons that encouraged Muslims to celebrate American institutions such as the Fourth of July and figures including Martin Luther King Jr.

Last year, Tsarnaev traveled to Russia for about six months, while his wife stayed in their Cambridge apartment. His aunt said he spoke with his wife every day using Skype and at times she would instruct him on how to observe religious practices correctly when he lapsed.

Tsarnaeva's lawyer said she had no reason to suspect her husband of anything and was focused on supporting her family, working 70 to 80 hours, seven days a week as a home health care aide. Her husband cared for their daughter when she was away, Deluca said.

But Anne Kilzer, a Belmont, Mass., resident who went with her daughters to the Tsarnaev home to get facials from Tamerlan Tsarnaev's mother, said when she visited the apartment Tsarnaeva was always there with the baby and her mother-in-law.

Kilzer, who had not been to the home since around Labor Day, when the mother told her she was leaving the country, described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as surly and intimidating and painted his wife as cowed and intimidated by him.

"She was a very sweet woman, but I think kind of brainwashed by him," she said.

She said Tsarnaeva seemed lonely and would bring out the baby for her to hold when she visited.

The apartment was so cramped and crowded, Kilzer said, that it would have been difficult for Tsarnaev to hide criminal activity from his wife.

"Maybe she'll provide answers for all of us," she said.

Federal authorities have asked to interview Tsarnaeva, and DeLuca said he is discussing with them how to proceed.

DeLuca would not provide details on what his client told him her husband was doing in the days before and after the April 15 bombing but said as far as he knew nothing seemed amiss to her in the days after.

Tsarnaev was home when his wife left for work the last day he was alive, DeLuca said. Police say he was run over by a car driven by his brother as he fled gunfire early Friday morning. His brother was captured later that night, wounded and bloody, in Watertown, 10 miles west of Boston; his lawyer has declined to comment.

DeLuca said she learned of her husband was suspected of being responsible for bombing the Boston Marathon the same way a lot of other people did: on TV.

___

Zezima reported from Cambridge, Mass. Gillum reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed in Boston, Geoff Mulvihill in Cambridge, Mass., and Eileen Sullivan and Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.



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