Tsarnaevs Swayed by Brain-Damaged Conspiracy Buff?

Suspects befriended Donald Larking, who gave them far-right reading

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 7, 2013 12:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – Did a brain-damaged American help turn the Boston bombing suspects against the US? The far-right and conspiracy theorist publications found in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment appear to have been supplied by an elderly man befriended by the brothers through their mother's job as a home health aide, the Wall Street Journal finds. A lawyer for the family of Donald Larking, a 67-year-old who suffered brain damage when he was shot in a robbery 40 years ago, says Larking was obsessed with conspiracy theories and shared publications with the brothers that questioned the Holocaust and accused the US or Israeli governments of being behind 9/11 and the Newtown school shooting.

Larking also supplied the brothers with copies of a white supremacist newspaper published in Alabama. He became so close to Tamerlan that he converted to Islam and began attending the local mosque with him, says the lawyer, who stresses that the shooting badly impaired the elderly man's "awareness of the realities of the world" and his ability to make decisions, the AP reports. Larking, who still attends the mosque, has sunk into "depression and anger" since the Boston Marathon bombing and believes his friends were the victims of another conspiracy, the lawyer says.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, came to know Larking through their mother's job as a home health aide and sometimes cared for him themselves.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, came to know Larking through their mother's job as a home health aide and sometimes cared for him themselves.   (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young, File)
In this Feb. 17, 2010, file photo, Tamerlan Tsarnaev smiles after accepting the trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves Championship in Lowell, Mass.
In this Feb. 17, 2010, file photo, Tamerlan Tsarnaev smiles after accepting the trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves Championship in Lowell, Mass.   (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie File)
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