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Tsarnaev brothers' link to 2011 murders explored

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

Ever since investigators solved one big mystery in April — identifying Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as suspected Boston Marathon bombers — an important new mystery has hung in the air: Did one or both of the brothers also have a role in an unsolved triple-murder case from 2011?

Some news reports say law enforcement officials are closer to making a connection.

In hindsight, one salient detail: On Sept. 11, precisely the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, three men were killed in a Waltham, Mass., apartment.

Two news organizations are reporting that local investigators are delving into forensic evidence and cellphone records that may link one or both Chechen brothers to the homicide.

The Boston outlet of Fox News cites sources with knowledge of the investigation, saying that Tamerlan Tsarnaev's cellphone “was used near the murder scene on the day of the triple homicide and his fingerprints were found inside the apartment.” But the sources caution that those details don't provide any definitive link between him and the murders.

ABC, similarly, says “some crime-scene forensic evidence provided a match to the two Tsarnaev brothers” and that cellphone records put both brothers “in the area of the murders on that date.”

Tamerlan was friends with one of the victims, Brendan Mess. They were once roommates and did boxing and martial-arts training together, ABC reported.

The triple-murder crime scene was gruesome. The victims were found with their necks slit and their bodies reportedly strewn with marijuana.

The crime occurred after a period in Tamerlan's life when, according to news reports, he had hit roadblocks in his aspirations to become an Olympic boxer.

He gave up drinking and smoking because of his Muslim religion — and grew more radical and impassioned in his religious views.

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