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.
On the ground Dzhokhar is given oxygen and checked for explosives
EMT’s with cutting tools, begin to cut off the pant legs of his jeans
Dzhokhar 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
Dzhokhar 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.
BY MR. WATKINS:
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?
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?
Q And Mr. Tsarnaev was actually undergoing medical procedures at the time. Is that correct?
Q He was visibly quite injured?
Q And particularly in regard to the clothes, did you observe doctors cutting off or taking off the clothes?
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?
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?
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?
Q Does the description on the bag match the photograph you’re looking at?
(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.