Boston Bombers' family 'was on the run from Russian mob'
A new report on the family of the two accused Boston Marathon bombers reveals that Tsarnaevs claimed they came to America after the father was kidnapped and tortured by Russian mobsters who then cut off their dog's head and left it on their doorstep.
After struggling to find a place in America, the older brother Tamerlan turned to conspiracy theories and radical Islam while the younger brother, Dzhokhar started stealing marijuana - earning $1,000 a week and sometimes carrying a gun to protect his stash.
The Boston Globe claims that the Tsarneav brothers appear have been motivated less by Islamist ideology and more by their own personal failings and inner demons - making the April 15 bombings more like the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater than an al-Qaeda terrorist plot.
Family friends, including some who are medical professionals, believe that Tamerlan possibly suffered from schizophrenia - which could have driven him to extremism.
The report gives some insight about why the two brothers to allegedly plant a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this spring.
The blasts killed three and injured more than 260 people. The brothers then allegedly murdered an MIT campus police officer three days later as they engaged police in a running gun battle.
Tamerlan was killed and Dzhokar was badly wounded by arrested after a daylong manhunt that shut down the city of Boston.
The Tsarnaev family moved to Boston from Kyrgastan after claiming that they were being persecuted because they were Chechen Muslims.
Tamerlan and Dzhokar's mother Zubeidat told friends and neighbors that she and her husband Anzor were lawyers in their native land and that Anzor worked as a prosecutor, according to the Globe.
Zubeidat claimed that when Anzor tried to prosecute a Russian mob boss, the gangster kidnapped Anzor and tortured him for a week.
Before they dropped him, barely alive at a hospital, the mobsters killed the family's German Shepherd and dumped its head on the family doorstep, according to this story.
'Zubeidat went to the hospital and when she saw how horribly beaten he was she said that she realized they had to get out of the country,' a family friend told the Globe.
The Globe posits that none of that story was likely true. Neither Zubeidat nor Anzor had law degrees, the newspaper reports.
It's likely that Anzor had been smuggling cigarettes and fell afoul of the local organized crime syndicate, friends say.
Alternatively - the family saw the glamorous life in America portrayed in Hollywood movies and decided they wanted a piece of it.
Anzor's brother was already in the United States - finding success as a lawyer.
The family submitted an application requesting asylum, claiming that they had been persecuted in their homeland for being Chechen Muslims.
'He made that up … so that the Americans would give him a visa,' Badrudi Tsokaev, a family friend say of claims that Anzor had been persecuted.
Mark Kramer, a Harvard University researcher who frequently testifies in asylum cases for family from post-Soviet states said he found 'no basis for being granted asylum at all' in the Tsarnaev case.
In America, the family fell apart - despite grand ambitions. Neither of the parents was able to find success.
In August 2011, Anzor and Zubeidat divorced. Anzor returned to Dagestan in Russia. Zubeidat soon moved back there, as well.
The Tsarnaev brothers struggled, too. Tamerlan, who was 26 when he was killed, had ambitions of becoming an Olympic boxer and found some success in the ring. But he eventually dropped out of training - just as he dropped out of school time and again.
He became increasingly focused on his Islamic faith and withdrew of society. He stayed home and took care of his daughter and surfed Islamist websites online while his American wife worked as a home care nurse and was responsible for the family income.
He mentioned to several people that he had begun hearing voices.
'He was torn between those two people,' Donald Larking, 67, who attended mosque with Tamerlan for two years, told the Globe.
'He said that several times. And he did not like it.'
Dzokhar, meanwhile, became obsessed with drugs. In high school, he had been captain of the wrestling team and a decent student.
He smoked a lot of marijuana in high school, friends said, but once he went away to college, he began selling it.
He flaunted his stash, weighing it out on the desk in his door open. At the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, he gained a reputation as having some of the best weed on campus, the Globe reports.
Friends said he often hauled in $1,000 a week in cash. He sometimes carried a handgun to protect the stash, too, friends told the newspaper.
But his fast lifestyle and focus on drugs meant his grades were sinking rapidly. He had a D average and was on the verge of being kicked out of school when he and his brother allegedly planted the bombs in April.