Home Boston DJ Fife, Prosecution Witness at the Tsarnaev Trial

DJ Fife, Prosecution Witness at the Tsarnaev Trial


Dramatic photos taken by Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as he was captured from the boat he was hiding out in Watertown. Photo by Sean P. Murphy via Boston Magazine - Web must link to boston magazine site: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/07/18/tsarnaev/ .Dzhokhar on the edge of the boat, just before being pulled down from it, to the ground, wearing his hooded sweatshirt.

by Cheryl Dean

We have seen the pictures of the boat scene where, according to the official story, Dzhokhar (“Jahar”) was captured. The pictures were leaked in July 2013 by a police photographer, Sgt. Sean Murphy, who said he was at the boat scene documenting what took place there.

Murphy said in a statement to Boston magazine that Tsarnaev is evil and that his photos show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

Federal prosecutors handling the case called the leak “completely unacceptable.” (Yes, but only when the leak is not in their favor.)

Releasing the pictures actually backfired on Murphy. Many people were shocked to see the brutality of what happened to this teenager, who was unarmed, and many people felt sympathy for Dzhokhar, something the prosecution certainly didn’t want.

The pictures clearly show that the hooded sweater worn by Dzhokhar was taken or cut off of him after he was pulled to the ground near the boat. We see EMT or some officials with tools cutting off the pant legs of the jeans Dzhokhar was wearing, we also see him on the ground and in the ambulance, not wearing a hooded sweater on him.

jahar---On the ground Dzhokhar is given oxygen and checked for explosives

jahar - cutting tollsEMT’s with cutting tools, begin to cut off the pant legs of his jeans

jahar at boatDzhokhar is almost naked, except for a small part of his jeans from the very top of his legs to the low waist of his jeans. His hooded sweatshirt has been cut off or removed

jahar on stretcherDzhokhar on the stretcher, bare chested

Dzhokhar was taken to Beth Israel Hospital and was in critical condition, on a respirator, and put into a medically induced coma, while doctors tried to save his life.

But now, we have an employee of the FBI, Mr. Fife, testifying in court, that he personally was in the emergency room of Beth Israel hospital where Dzhokhar was being treated. He says that he personally watched as Dzhokhar’s clothes were cut off of him. Here is the trial transcript testimony.


Q  Good afternoon, Agent Fife.

A  Good afternoon. I’m actually not an agent, just for the record.

Q  I’m sorry. Mr. Fife. You actually went over to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center?

A  Yes.

Q  And that’s where you obtained the items that you — that you forwarded to the lab?

A  Yes; I was part — I don’t think my name appears on the chain of custody, but I was in the room when it happened, yes.

Q  And there were several FBI special agents and other persons like yourself?

A  Yes; I think there were five. There was a photographer and special agents and ERT personnel and two latent fingerprint examiners.

Q  In addition to those items that you collected, you also collected clothing of Mr. Tsarnaev?

A  I didn’t collect it, but, yes, it was collected.

Q  You were present while it was being collected?

A  Yes.

Q  And Mr. Tsarnaev was actually undergoing medical procedures at the time. Is that correct?

A  Yes.

Q  He was visibly quite injured?

A  Yes.

Q  And particularly in regard to the clothes, did you observe doctors cutting off or taking off the clothes?

A  Yes.

Q  And were those immediately collected by one of the team that was with you there?

A  I believe what happened is that the doctor placed them into biohazard bags and then they were passed into the room next door, and in the room next door is where they were removed from the bags and where they were inventoried and the labels were written and the photographs were taken.

Q  And that was, again, something that you were present for?

A  Yes.

Q  I want to show you –

WATKINS: This is just for the witness.

Q  — what’s been marked Defendant’s Exhibit 3058. Is that the jacket that — or the sweatshirt that you saw being cut off of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and that was put into — processed by your team?

A  It wasn’t processed, but it was collected, yes.

Q  And to your knowledge, where was that sweatshirt taken, or given after that?

A  Where was it physically taken?

Q  Was it given to the Massachusetts State Police?

A  I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t think so. I don’t know. I thought it stayed in bureau possession.

WATKINS: May I approach, your Honor?

Q  I’m placing before you what is identified as Defendant’s Exhibit 3061. And can you read what the writing is on the front of that?

A  It says — it has the case ID number at the top, and then it says — would you like me to read out the case ID?

Q  Please.

A  415MBS2814367. It just says “April 20th, 2013,” and that was actually just after midnight so the date is both the 19th and the 20th on some of the evidence. It says “Adidas brand medium-sized black-hooded sweatshirt from person of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.”  And then it has the name Christopher — Special Agent Christopher Lord and Special Agent Alexia Crow, and they have initialed the packaging.

Q  And based on your experiences being in the — were those two agents in the room with you?

A  Yes.

Q  Does the description on the bag match the photograph you’re looking at?

A  Yes.

exhibits(L) Exhibit #3061, that Watkins is talking about. (This pic was never made public, but a journalist snapped a picture of it.) (R) Exhibit # 3058, published by the defense


I find this more than a small discrepancy. How could Dzhokhar’s clothes have been cut off of him in the hospital, when we have pictures of his clothes being cut off or removed while on the ground after being pulled down from the boat, then being transported to the hospital?

How can both of these stories be right? Either Mr. Fife is lying, or it was someone else (not Dzhokhar) on the ground having his clothes cut off.  Or possibly Mr. Fife did witness someone having their clothes cut off while at Beth Israel Hospital, but it wasn’t Dzhokhar.

(Another possibility, but I consider it negligible, is that the boatside photos are of the photoshopped variety.)

I consider Mr Fife’s testimony to be just another example of the dishonest testimony of so many of the witnesses for the prosecution that appears at every turn.

The answer may be buried in the 400 sealed motions and documents that were not released when 600 were released last month. For a trial that is supposed to be public, a lot is still kept very private.

Will we ever get to the bottom of this confusing and secretive case? I believe we will.

— Cheryl Dean is the writer of a set of Gumshoe articles, derived from the actual goings on at the Tsarnaev trial.



  1. Dear Cheryl, As you may know, I am not a Marathon denier. Many people say the bombs were fake, the blood is fake, etc. I don’t go that far.

    I am, however, a Marathon minimizer. Thanks to Josee Lepine, I cannot accept the MIT tiny-figures story. (That is, I agree with her that the cyclist’s testimony is false.)

    And I never accepted the ludicrous carjack story from the minute I heard it. And of course the Podstava video puts paid to the false story of “the Laurel St shootout.”

    Today you have finished me off re the boat story. I hate to side with the revealers of “crisis actors” – as I detect from their Youtube videos that many of the “revealers” are themselves on the payroll. But the Jahar in these photos does not look like the real Jahar to me. I think he’s fake.

    So that’s four parts of the story that I must reject. In chronological order: the carjacking, the killing of Sean Collier at MIT, the Laurel St shootout, and the boat.

    Maybe the point of the boat was to condition Americans to the fact that it’s OK to kill a suspect. Recall that a huge hail of bullets hit the boat. None of that was needed since they can certainly subdue a suspect with tear gas.

    Thanks to you, we can name dozens of people who lied, both among the “authorities” and the media. If they lied in court that is the crime of perjury, a felony.

    Hilariously, one of the crimes that Dias was charged with (he is one of Jahar’s pals) was “lying to the FBI.” Or maybe it was Robel. They are all in jail today. Seriously.

    So any who gave false testimony can and should be charged with this crime. Cheryl, did Deslauriers take the stand under oath?

    • NO, DesLauriers never took the stand and was never even a spectator at the trial. By that time he had retired from his job and moved on to another job non gov job. That freed him up to take part in the National Geographic docudrama where the bombing and the other events that week were re-enacted using actors, telling the story just the way the FBI and prosecution wanted it told. This program was aired before the trial, and although the defense was appalled, DesLaurier was off the hook, because he was retired and allowed to do whatever he wanted to.
      When Dzhokhar was on the ground we never get a clear picture of his face, so truthfully, we can’t identify him for sure. However, someone is telling a lie. Defense attorney Watkins asks Fife not once but many times, so you were actually present, you saw this with your own eyes etc which leads me to believe the defense was trying to point something out, but weren’t allowed to actually say it.
      This is exactly what is written on the paper bag the hoody is allegedly inside of:
      Q I’m placing before you what is identified as Defendant’s Exhibit 3061. And can you read what the writing is on the front of that?
      A It says — it has the case ID number at the top, and then it says — would you like me to read out the case ID?
      Q Please.
      A 415MBS2814367. It just says “April 20th, 2013,” and that was actually just after midnight so the date is both the 19th and the 20th on some of the evidence. It says “Adidas brand medium-sized black-hooded sweatshirt from person of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.” And then it has the name Christopher — Special Agent Christopher Lord and Special Agent Alexia Crow, and they have initialed the packaging.

      • OK, Cheryl, in regard to your last paragraph, I now see the problemo: the injured boy seems to have traveled on a stretcher not wearing a top. But couldn’t someone have thrown the top onto the stretcher?
        You know if he had had his high school diploma with him in the boat, they’d have carted that to the hospital, wouldn’t they?

        Oh. Did they?

        Dee says it’s hard to write a satire anymore. Eveything is already satire.
        Cheryl, did the Docudrama include real footage? I mean “real” footage? You know, not real but said to be real. “Of April 19th”.

        Cheryl and Josee, we really do appreciate your playing everything straight. A while ago a reader sent in a compliment to me, that she found my (proper) spelling therapeutic. i find your serious working through this case VERY therapeutic.

        • Yes, of course the top could have went to the hospital with him, thrown onto the stretcher, but why lie in court and say you saw them cut it off of him at the hospital? What is the purpose of that? (he had no high school diploma with him, that was his brother whose diploma was in the back seat of the car) Yes, the docudrama included some real footage. People thought they were watching real evidence. They blended real and reenactments without saying which was which. It was very sketchy and deceitful and disgusting. Glad we are providing some therapy for you Mary!

  2. if there are any actual practicing lawyers in america, who still have their heads on their shoulders after being witness to the federal govt/ military/ ‘security’/ ‘justice’/ media circus that is this trial and they have families and an eye toward creating a ‘better world’ for their children, grandchildren and generations to come, kindly step up and inform us here. your job of finding grounds for a mistrial has already been done for you – and that’s just with the now unsealed info ‘they’ think is okay to share publicly (the mind boggles). bet the bloopers of the other still sealed docs with their ‘real’ mistakes in this cover up are doozers. (like maybe similar to detonating tower 2 before tower 1 and BBC announcing building 5 going down before it actually happened). holy cr@p batman! how much more stup!d can stup!d get… stay tuned… I’m getting to a point of wondering who will and when action is going to be taken to free this innocent kid from their venomous tentacles of yup, ‘resident evil’…

  3. I agree that we will get to the bottom of this case because we will not stop seeking the whole truth until it is all out, until the innocent are freed, until the guilty are placed where they belong, until the whole truth is very much out in the open so that all are aware of it, and until all is set as right as it can possibly be.

  4. Unbeleivable and just to think that the jurors bought it. When we only had the pictures we could not know exactly what happened. But now when you link those pictures with the testimonies it is so evident that the Boston Marathon bombing and the following events are rigged with secrecies. However one thing is for sure, the trial exhibits and the trial transcripts prove the innocence of the Tsarnaev brothers. And, I have to say, I fell sorry for my American neighbours who have to rely on defense lawyers that have no integrity values.

  5. This type of evidence is very common in court when a chain of custody may be challenged. The police will strap-up the evidence to show that the evidence could not have been tampered with. I still don’t understand why they need to strap-up the chain of custody in regards to his clothes. Was there any issue regarding the clothes?

    It is also very common for police to ‘corroborate’ another officer’s statement. Essentially, that at least two officers saw/heard some facts before the court. The corroborating police officer may never have even been at the location, no problem, just use the first officer’s statement to draft the second officer’s statement, but change a few bits here and there.

    • Terry, could the issue of chain of custody have to do with verificaion of the identity of the man who wore the clothes. In other words, “Is Jahar’s DNA on the clothing?”

      But then, if they want to cheat they can either go get his clothes from his home, or, easier still, lie about thier “DNA” test results/

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