Zalkind Notes

Interview with Tatiana Gruzdeva


Masia ran away after Todashev was killed by the FBI.

I spoke to Tatiana Gruzdeva, the live in boyfriend of Ibragim Todashev, for Boston magazine. Todashev is the associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was shot to death by the FBI in his Orlando apartment last May. FBI reports leaked to the press say he implicated himself and Tsarnaev in my friend’s murder, the 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, before he was killed. The situation surrounding his death is still unclear. Ms. Gruzdeva told me about how her boyfriend reacted to the Boston marathon bombing, about being questioned by the FBI, detained by immigration, and put into solitary confinement and told her boyfriend was dead. She also told me about the arrest of her friend and roommate Ashurmamad Miraliev earlier that day. Later the Muslim rights group CAIR, would tell me Miraliev was denied repeated requests for an attorney.

The 2011 Waltham Murders, Why This Anniversary is More Difficult Than the Last

When someone you know is murdered, it messes with your sense of trust. It’s different than just reading about a murder since the grief and loss is compounded with the knowledge that another human being did this on purpose, and if the murder is unsolved, those feelings are mixed with a sense that killer or killers are still out there too. Basically, the violence hits you in your gut, and you’re never truly able to shake it.

Erik Weissman

Erik Weissman

Today September 11, 2013, marks two years, since my friend Erik Weissman was killed. His body was found on September 12th, with Brendan Mess and Raphael Teken in Brendan’s Waltham, MA apartment. Somebody slit their throats. Then like some sort of sick demented joke, the killers threw marijuana on their bleeding bodies.

Full disclosure: Erik and I became friends around 2007 and my father Norman Zalkind, a criminal defense attorney, was representing him for a 2011 drug charge at the time of his death.

In the months after the murder, I used to stay up at night imaging what the people who killed my friend must be thinking, must be doing out there, walking freely among society. Were they buying soda from 7-Eleven? Were they going out to eat with their friends? My optimistic worldview was shattered and I suffered because of it. Then, I took a leap of faith. I convinced myself that law enforcement was doing everything in their power to solve the case, and that the killers would one day see justice. It was naiveté, but I slept better.

If I took a leap of faith, I fell with a hard crash on May 22, 2013, when the news broke that the FBI shot Ibragim Todashev to death. This was a man who, according to reports leaked to the press by the FBI, implicated himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber of the Boston Marathon, in the Waltham triple murder. Reports from FBI agent leaked to the press say Todashev was about to sign a confession, before the situation escalated and he was killed by an FBI agent from the Boston office, in his own home in Orlando, FL, hours into one of several interviews Todashev agreed to participate in.

The families of the three young men in Waltham are not taking the FBI’s reports at face value.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apperance on The Rachel Maddow Show

FBI cagey on death of bombing-connected murder suspect

Susan Zalkind Rachel Maddow

Quote in the NYT on 2011 Waltham Triple Homicide

In 2011 Murder Inquiry, Hints of Missed Chance to Avert Boston Bombing

Susan Zalkind, a friend of Mr. Weissman’s and a freelance journalist who has been looking into the case since 2011, said she remains surprised how few friends of victims the police talked to. “Despite being one of the most gruesome and unusual crimes of the year, I saw the least amount of public outreach,” she said.

Southern Africa’s Beer Boom

My feature, “Southern Africa’s Beer Boom: A Look at the Heart of Africa’s Beer Scene,” is in the May edition, #64, of Beer Advocate. I cover the commercial explosion, the burgeoning craft industry, and centuries old non-barley brewing techniques. Download it!


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