BOSTON - A federal judge has ruled that three friends of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect will be tried separately.
But the judge also says it is unnecessary to move the trials out of Massachusetts.
The judge ruled Tuesday that Azamat Tazhayakov will stand trial on June 30, followed by Dias Kadyrbayev on Sept. 8, and Robel Phillipos on Sept. 29.
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev are both from Kazakhstan and are in the U.S. on student visas. They face charges of tampering with evidence for removing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack of fireworks from his University of Massachusetts Dartmouth dorm room.
Phillipos is charged with lying to investigators.
They have pleaded not guilty.
The April 2013 marathon attack killed three and injured more than 260.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both 19, shared an apartment in New Bedford, and have been detained since they were charged in May. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison. Both face the possibility of being deported, the Justice Department said.
On April 18, the FBI posted pictures of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an alleged co-conspirator who died the next day during the manhunt. According to the indictment against them, Kadyrbayev later received a text message from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev's "room and take what's there."
The indictment alleges that Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos went to Tsarnaev's dorm room and removed several items, including Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks. The indictment says they brought the items to Kadyrbayev's and Tazhayakov's apartment and later put some of them in a trash dumpster.