BOSTON -- A fourth acquaintance of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, has been charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of the case, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.
Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy, Mass. is charged with one count of destroying, altering and falsifying records, documents and material objects in a federal investigation. He allegedly deleted information from his computer after learning Tsarnaev was a target of the federal investigation.
He is also charged with three counts of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation.
He made his first court appearance Friday to face the charges, appearing unshaven and dressed in a white T-shirt.
Matanov allegedly "took a series of steps to impede the FBI's investigation into the extent of his friendship, contact, and communication with the suspected bombers, and the fact that he shared the suspected bombers' philosophical justification for violence," according to a statement from U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Tsarnaev is charged with setting off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 250. His brother Tamerlan Tsarneav, who was also a suspect in the killings, died during a confrontation with police three days after the bombing.
The indictment does not charge Matanov with knowing about the bombings ahead of time or participating in them. If convicted on all counts, Matanov could face up to 44 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Three other associates of Tsarnaev have already been charged with obstructing justice in the investigations. Their trials are scheduled to begin in June and September.
During the brief court hearing Friday, Matanov declined to have a court-appointed interpreter and affirmed he is comfortable with English. Judge Marianne Bowler then read him his rights to remain silent and have legal counsel.
Matanov said he cannot afford a lawyer. Bowler said she would give him an affidavit form to fill out. see if he's eligible for a court-appointed lawyer.
She then reviewed some of his personal information, including asking him about his education.
"I went two years back home for the law school," Matanov said. "I tried to get into college here, but there were some issues." He said he still hopes to go to college in the United States.
He remains in the custody of the marshals. A detention hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, June 4. The hearing was adjourned.
According to the indictment, Matanov is a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who entered the United States legally in 2010. He's worked as a taxi cab driver, and has held other jobs.
The indictment says Matanov was friends with Tsarnaev's older, now-deceased brother, Tamerlan. They used to hike together in New Hampshire in an effort to train like and praise the "mujahideen," or those who struggle on behalf of Islam.
On the night of the bombings, Matanov allegedly had dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers at a restaurant, where they discussed the incident. Tamerlan allegedly said he didn't think Al Qaeda was behind the attacks because the group had not claimed responsibility.
Matanov was also in frequent contact with both Tsarnaev brothers via cell phone during the manhunt as it was unfolding. He also visited Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment, according to the indictment, two days after the bombings.
After Tamerlan's death on April 18, Matanov spoke with Braintree police. He allegedly provided false and misleading information, downplaying the extent of their relationship.