Ibragim Todashev is seen in a mug shot on May 4 after his arrest for aggravated battery in Orlando. Todashev, who was being questioned in Orlando by authorities in the Boston bombing probe, was fatally shot on May 22, when he initiated a violent confrontation, FBI officials said.
The father of the man who was killed by FBI agents — after allegedly admitting he and Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev committed a triple homicide in 2011 — claims that his son is innocent and federal investigators made up their case against him.
Investigators say Ibragim Todashev told them on Wednesday that he and Tsarnaev killed three people in a Boston suburb two years ago in what sources say was a drug ripoff gone bad.
Law enforcement officials said that, while confessing to the slayings, Todashev was shot and killed after attacking an agent with a knife.
But Todashev's father, Abdul-Baki Todashev, told NBC News on Thursday that the FBI "made up their accusations" and that the American investigators are biased against Chechens.
"My son did not kill anybody ... they [the FBI] were eager to present my son as Tsarnaev’s friend. My son could never commit a crime, I know my son well," Abdul-Baki Todashev said in a phone interview from Chechnya.
Investigators questioned his 27-year-old son in Orlando, Fla. as part of the FBI’s effort to find anyone who had any contact with the Tsarnaev brothers. Todashev was not considered a suspect in the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured scores more last month.
What is still not clear is why Todashev would have implicated himself and Tsarnaev in the unsolved murders.
Investigators say he confessed to the agent in Florida that he played a role in a triple murder in which three men were discovered slain in an apartment in Waltham, Mass. Brendan Mess, 25; Raphael Teken, 37; and Eric Weissman, 31, were found with their throats cut in September of 2011, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. Law enforcement sources told NBC News Wednesday that the slayings were simply the result of a drug deal gone bad.
No suspects had been arrested in that case, and Waltham prosecutors said Thursday they still consider it an "open and active" investigation.
The parents of suspected marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have also maintained that their children are innocent. Though sources have told NBC News that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled his reasoning behind the bombing in a boat he was hiding in before his capture by police.
Abdul-Baki Todashev said he found out that his son was killed when a family member saw it on the Internet. He said his son and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were not close friends, but did say they were acquaintances that went to the same gym.
His son had a green card, he said, and recently had knee surgery that delayed a planned trip back to Russia.
"He told me that the state paid his medical insurance and that they did not want him to leave the country until he compensated (sic). But now I think may be FBI took his air ticket from him," Todashev said.
Less than a day after the shooting an FBI review team from Washington was on the ground in Florida to investigate the death, officials said. Witnesses in the room when the shooting occurred will be questioned, including two Massachusetts State Police troopers.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the federal magistrate judge handling the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case rescheduled a probable cause hearing originally set for May 30 -- the next legal step -- for July 10th at 11 am.
The hearing was originally set for May 30th, but both prosecutors and defense lawyers asked for a delay, citing what they called "the complex factual and legal issues present in this case and the need for adequate time to obtain and review evidence."
NBC's Pete Williams contributed to this report
This story was originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 7:28 PM EDT