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I Would Have Stopped Him, 'Misha' Says Of Bombing Suspect

The man known as Misha who relatives of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects have alleged may have turned the elder Tsarnaev brother toward a radical form of Islam says he did no such thing and would have tried to stop the attack if he had known about it.

"I wasn't his teacher," Mikhail Allakhverdov (Misha) said Sunday of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. "If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died April 19 of injuries received during a gun battle with police in Watertown, Mass. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, the other suspect, was captured later that day in Watertown. He is being held at a prison medical facility outside Boston. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.

Three people were killed and more than 250 were wounded April 15 by two blasts near the marathon's finish line. The brothers also allegedly killed a MIT police officer later that week.

It was writer Christian Caryl who tracked down Allakhverdov. Caryl writes about their conversation in The New York Review of Books' NYR blog. According to Caryl:

-- "Having been referred by a family in Boston that was close to the Tsarnaevs, I found Allakhverdov at his home in Rhode Island, in a lower middle class neighborhood, where he lives in modest, tidy apartment with his elderly parents."

-- "Allakhverdov said he had known Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, and has not had any contact with him since."

-- Allakhverdov said he has "been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything I wanted to show I haven't done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case."

Update at 6:25 p.m. ET. News Report: Female DNA Found on Bomb

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that investigators found female DNA on at least one of the bombs used in Boston. It's unclear whom the DNA belongs to or whether that person helped carry out the attacks. The newspaper also reported that the FBI collected a DNA sample from Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who died in a shootout with police. She is said to be cooperating with investigators.

Meanwhile, President Obama spoke to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The White House said that the two men discussed, among other things, "the close cooperation that the United States has received from Russia on the Boston marathon attack."

Update at 1:35 p.m. ET. Lawyer Says Misha Is Cooperating With Authorities:

"A lawyer representing the family of Mikhail 'Misha' Allakhverdov, who has been linked to one of the men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, said Monday that Allakhverdov had been cooperating with authorities and had answered all the questions asked of him," The Providence Journal writes. "Atty. Richard Nicholson spoke briefly about 12:30 p.m. Monday to a group of reporters who had gathered outside Allakhverdov's River Street apartment."


-- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "is able to speak and has been interacting with staff at the Federal Medical Center Devens," CNN reports. It cited a spokesman for the facility, John Colautti.

-- The suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, continues to argue that "her sons are innocent and that she's no terrorist," The Associated Press says.

-- Over the weekend, The Washington Post published a long profile of the Tsarnaev family: "A Faded Portrait of An Immigrant's American Dream."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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