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Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev become absorbed in magazines about wild conspiracy theories, mass killings and white supremacy, all courtesy of a convalescent older gentleman who has trouble facing "the realities of the world," according to his lawyer.

Yesterday, the BBC program Panorama reported on the telling reading material authorities found in the dead Tsarnaev brother's apartment. There were, for example, magazines that sympathized with Hitler, promoted a white supremacist agenda, and outlined how other mass murderers had performed their crimes.

The Wall Street Journal tracked down the individual who gave those magazines to Tsarnaev: 67-year-old Donald Larking. Larking was a client of Zubeidat Tsarnaev, who made a living in the U.S. caring for the elderly. Larking had been left with disabilities after surviving being shot in the face during a robbery at his job 40 years ago.

Larking subsequently became interested in magazines that pushed right-wing conspiracy theories about 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombings, and the Newtown school massacre. Tsarnaev, already a fan of conspiracy sites like InfoWars and Islamist websites, became close with the older man:

Ms. Tsarnaev began asking Tamerlan Tsarnaev or his brother to care for Mr. Larking when she wasn't available to work. Mr. Larking's wife, Rosemary, a quadriplegic, also needed help at home. Mr. Tsarnaev seemed to have found a kindred spirit in Mr. Larking. They became friends and had animated talks about politics, people close to the Larking family said.

Tamerlan started reading the anti-Semitic American Free Press and absorbed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He also reportedly became interested in hypnosis and methods of seduction, taking interest in a course called "How To Create an Instantaneous Sexual Attraction in Any Woman You Meet." 

The relationship between the two men grew even stronger when Tsarnaev started bringing Larkin to his mosque regularly, supposedly just to get him out of the house.

After the bombings, Larkin called the authorities as soon as he recognized images of the Tsarnaev brothers from the television. But now, months later, Larkin has apparently "sunken into anger and depression." He believes the Boston bombings were also a conspiracy. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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