The two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings are being investigated in connection with the savage killings of three men — two of whom were Jewish — in a Waltham, Mass., apartment in September 2011, according to the Boston Globe.

Brandeis University graduate Raphael Teken, 37, Eric Weissman, 31, and Brendan Mess, 25, were found Sept. 12, 2011, with their throats slashed, their bodies cut and sprinkled with marijuana. Friends said they last heard from them the previous day.

Friends of the dead men contacted authorities after Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a native of Kyrgyzstan, was identified as one of the suspected bombers. They were reportedly suspicious of him at the time of the slayings because although he had reportedly been a close friend of Mess he did not attend his funeral. Tsarnaev was killed last week in a shootout with police.

Media reports said Weissman was a devoted member of his synagogue and that Teken grew up in Brookline, attended Brookline High School and majored in history at Brandeis; he was reportedly buried in Israel.

The Boston Globe reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev knew Mess well, once introducing him to the owner of the gym where they both worked out as his “best friend.” Authorities were quoted as saying that Tsarnaev became a radical Muslim a year or two before the triple murder; the FBI interviewed him in 2011 at the request of Russian authorities concerned about his activities. Within months of the murders, Tsarnaev flew to Russia for six months.

Relatives of the slain men are said to believe that Tsarnaev’s 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, the second suspected bomber, might have helped his brother carry out the triple murder. They argue that it would have been extremely difficult for one person to have killed all three victims, because at least two of them were in excellent physical condition; Mess was a well-known mixed martial arts fighter.

editor@jewishweek.org