Jewish Triple Murder Victim's Mother: How Did Police Miss Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Slay Cops Could Have Prevented Boston Marathon Bombing

Jewish Victim: Erik Weissman was murdered on Sept. 11, 2011, along with another Jewish man and a third victim described as Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s best friend.
Jewish Victim: Erik Weissman was murdered on Sept. 11, 2011, along with another Jewish man and a third victim described as Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s best friend.

By Forward Staff

Published July 11, 2013.
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The mother of a Jewish man killed in a 2011 triple murder in which slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has broken her silence — accusing police of conducting a lethargic probe into the gruesome killings.

Bellie Hacker, whose son, Erik Weissman was brutally slashed to death along with a second Jewish man and a third friend in Waltham, Mass. told the New York Times she was taken aback by the lack of intensity in the police investigation into the slayings.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev
getty images
Tamerlan Tsarnaev

The mom describing the police as “honest in their assessments, but passive and waiting,” the paper said.

“The police told us, ‘This is what we think may happen.’ That in the future, someone with information might come forward and admit it and seek a plea deal,” Hacker told the paper.

Another friend said they were stunned that police apparently never investigated the significance of the fact that the trio — Brendan H. Mess, 25, Weissman, 31, and Rafael M. Teken, 37, who was also Jewish — were killed on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

That might have led them to take a second look at Tsarnaev, a Chechen Muslim immigrant who investigators now know was already starting down a path to Islamic radicalism.

“I told the police that there were only two Muslims I knew of who hung around the group of friends,” the friend told the paper. “Because of the 9/11 date, the fact that Tamerlan and Brendan’s last girlfriend were Muslim stood out.”

The three men were found dead in an apartment a few miles from the campus of Brandeis University in the Boston suburb of Waltham.

The bodies of the men were found on Sept. 12, but friends believe the killings took place on Sept. 11, which was the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev knew Mess well but did not attend his funeral despite once referring to him as his “best friend,” and participating in boxing and martial arts training together.

The bodies of the three men were discovered with their throats slit and about seven pounds of marijuana dumped on the bodies, as well as $5,000 in cash left behind.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzokhar were identified as suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing after authorities reviewed photos and video taken on the afternoon of the marathon on April 15, when two bombs killed three people and wounded more than 170.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police several days after the bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured after a manhunt that shut down the Boston metro area for more that a day. He was charged with using a “weapon of mass destruction” — a charge that could bring the death penalty.

Police may not have focused on the triple murder’s possible link to the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks because it originally appeared to be drug related.

All three victims had faced drug-related charges in the past.

Still, friends said they were shocked by the lethargy of the police investigation, noting that many friends and acquaintances of the men were never questioned — perhaps leading cops to overlook Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a suspect.

Susan Zalkind, a friend of Weissman, told the Times she remains stunned at the lack of effort exerted on the triple murder.

“Despite being one of the most gruesome and unusual crimes of the year, I saw the least amount of public outreach,” she told the paper.


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