It was one of the most gruesome killings in Greater Boston in many years: three young men found with their throats slit inside a Waltham apartment on a quiet residential street, their bodies sprinkled with marijuana.
Now, police and prosecutors are stepping up their investigation into the unsolved 2011 triple homicide at the request of victims’ relatives who believe that suspected Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have played a role, noting that Tsarnaev had been close friends with one of the dead men.
What is more, the grieving relatives say the killings took place on a highly symbolic date for Islamic extremists: the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon . . .
The death certificates of two of the victims — Brendan H. Mess, 25, and Rafael M. Teken, 37 — say they were killed on Sept. 12, the day that Mess’s girlfriend reportedly discovered the bodies of the three victims and ran screaming from the two-family house where they had gathered.
But a relative of one of the victims told the Globe he is certain they were killed on the evening of Sept. 11, because he was texting one of them about a Sunday night football game between the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys when communication suddenly stopped, at about 8:15 that evening . . .
The Globe reported Saturday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev knew Mess well, once introducing him to the owner of the gym where they both worked out as his “best friend.” But another friend of Mess pointed out that Tsarnaev did not even attend Mess’s funeral.
“If they were best friends, you would think [Tamerlan] would have been absolutely devastated and would have reached out to someone,” said the friend of Mess, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. “That confirms my suspicions that something was up.’’
Records reviewed by the Globe show that at least one member of the Mess family lived in the same Cambridge neighborhood as the Tsarnaevs . . .
In 2011, FBI agents questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev after his native Russia raised concerns about his possible extremism.
In addition, within months of the triple homicide, in early 2012, Tamerlan went to Russia for six months, visiting family members in Dagestan, which borders the Tsarnaevs’ ancestral homeland of Chechnya, a region with a history of violent Islamic rebellion . . .
In addition to the marijuana and $5,000 found at the crime scene, Weissman’s past may have pointed investigators to drugs as a motive. In 2008, Weissman was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to a police report.