By Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
On Jan 26, 2016, Gumshoe published Josée Lépine’s article “Who Killed Sean Collier? The Evidence Is Fraudulent and Ridiculous.” It dealt with one of the five actions in the trial of Jahar Tsarnaev, concerning a cop-killing. Traditionally, the call “Officer down” brings all members of nearby police forces to converge on the killer.
The idea of the Tsarnaev brothers hopping over to the MIT campus, one of the most high-tech places in the world, in order to commit a random murder, simply cannot be believed.
It is believed by millions of people, but that’s for reasons we have discussed elsewhere — people believe what media or government say on the evening news. They particularly swallow a story that waxes sentimental about a young person (the cop, Sean Collier was 27).
I’ll now recap the court evidence that Josée Lépine analyzed, then I will show her latest thinking about the trial documents, and will develop her notion of show trial. In a nutshell (I quote, with permission, an email she sent me):
“[Jahar’s] trial proves that now the government can accuse anyone of anything they want and secure a conviction without proof and even get a death sentence. The purpose of that fake trial was to create a precedent.”
Recapping the Court Evidence re Collier’s Murder
Lépine showed that the testimony in court involved four witnesses. First, a patrolman, David Sacco, said that his office received an internal 911 call on April 18, 2013, at 10.20pm. The caller said he heard loud noises. He did not say whether he had heard them immediately before the call or earlier. (We were allowed to listen to the call. Here it is again: The 911 CALL.
Second, we heard from Matthew Isgur, the guy in charge of MIT’s twelve hundred security cameras. (That’s a lotta security cameras!) He said there was footage of the relevant event, and presented a video known as Exhibit 724 and 725. Inexplicably, it has a gap in the middle, covering the period around 10.20pm.
(Well maybe not inexplicable but unexplained. It made folks think of Rosemary Wood and Watergate, but at least she said she inadvertently erased 5 minutes of tape when she stretched from her desk to a table.)
Also, Isgur furnished no excuse as to why the surveillance photo was taken from a great distance. Presumably anyone now wishing to steal the most exciting nano-nuke from MIT might hope to escape unidentified!
Third, Sgt Clarence Henniger of the MIT police said that at 10.20pm he drove his patrol car past the place at which the death is said to have occurred, but did not see or hear anything amiss.
The fourth person giving sworn testimony was an MIT student age 24, Nathan Harman. At 10.20pm he was about to leave the campus for home and was riding his bicycle near the Koch Building. He saw someone standing by the driver’s door of Sean Collier’s parked cruiser.
The jurors were treated to a video that showed, on the left, a person (allegedly Harman) doing his bike ride past the car. On the right of the same video we see what Josée Lépine calls “two tiny figures” walking hastily towards this car, stopping at it, and leaving the area 44 seconds later.
The Brake Light
Newspapers gave a colorful description of what purportedly went on. They said the brothers had learned that day that they were identified on TV as the Boston bombers. They then felt they needed an extra gun and so decided to steal one.
They shot Sean many times, and each time, supposedly, the car’s brake lights went on. This is because Sean was sitting in the driver’s seat with his foot resting on the brake. I guess it is reasonable to think that if his body was thrown around by the gunshots he may have caused the brake light to turn on.
By the way, in court in 2015, Nathan Harman had said he got a sufficiently good look at the suspect (Jahar) in 2013 to see that his jacket had writing or designs on it, and that he wore a knitted cap.
Yet Nathan did not hear either the loud sound of gunshot or any vocalization from the victim, Sean Collier. All was uneventful and he simply rode past without even slowing down, as we can see on the video.
Note: Josée mentioned to me that as Nathan was on a bike he was high enough to see the inside of the cruiser and should have noticed a bloody mess.
Anyway, the brake lights do not enter into the court documents.
A Fabricated Witness?
Lépine is an interested citizen who hates what happened to Jahar and his late brother Tamerlan. As described in her article “When I Was in Solitary, North of the Border,” she traveled from Canada to Boson to attend the last pre-trial status conference, and then followed the trial through journalists’ tweets. Most importantly for us, she then purchased the transcripts (from PACER.gov) and plowed through them.
Note: these include motions submitted to the judge by either side’s attorneys – in Jahar’s case “both on the one side” if you ask me – as well as witnesses’ testimony, the prosecutor’s summing up, and so forth. Most of it is unbearably tedious. But there are gems for a sleuth like Lépine.
You may recall what she discovered in the court-exhibited video of Danny (Dun Meng), the carjackee. Lepine sees, in the video, that Danny exits the front door – but Jahar has also just exited from that same door. (Personally, I can’t see anyone as the gas pump is in the way.)
Others have noticed that Meng was wearing a set of keys on his back pocket – rather unusual if Tamerlan had those same keys in the ignition. But let’s not go there now.
Lépine has since agreed with me, and Russ Baker – and I hope thousands of others – that no carjacking ever took place. It’s a bad joke. It was meant to incriminate the Tsarnaev brothers for the bombing of the Marathon through a witness, Danny, that would testify that Tamerlan admitted to it. What a disgrace.
Josée also now says she thinks Nathan Harman’s testimony is a barefaced lie. That is, he was hired. You might say he was a professional witness. She is calling him a “fabricated witness.”
(Note: she already did catch him in the apparent falsehood of switching between saying that the humanoid standing at the car door was singular or plural. “Him” versus “them.”)
Lépine tells me in an email – and permits me to quote her –“There was never a visit by the Tsarnaev brothers to that campus. Had they been there, I am sure MIT could come up with a decent-quality photo of them.” Sounds correct to me!
Today she adds that “If there was anyone there committing a murder, there would have been noise from gunshot and Nathan could not have failed to hear it.” Sounds good to me!
In the video we see the brake light coming on just as the cruiser car was approached by “tiny figures” (plural not singular, but who’s counting?). If they did the shooting then – and if it caused the man’s foot to make the brake light go on – the proximity of Nathan at that moment would mean he would be not only an eye-witness but an ear-witness to the murder.
However, Lepine says we do not need the brake aspect of the case. The court documents deal with the noise factor, as described above. The timing is the critical thing. Both Nathan the cyclist and the tiny walking (or almost running) figures get close to the car at 10.24.
The “Rosemary Woods gap” is from 10:17 to 10:23. But the noise-call came in at 10.20. Did the noise reflect a shooting of Collier? If it did, then he was already shot before 10.24pm.
The Lépine Theory of Show Trials
I have already quoted Lépine’s statement about the purpose of the Tsarnaev trial. She says it is to create a precedent for convicting someone without proof. (There was already a great ‘precedent’ on the Boston books, by the way — see the trial of Albert DeSalvo.) I guess I have to agree as to the goal of this blatant judicial farce.
In a Gumshoe article concerning the great theorist Judith Shklar, I quoted her as follows, from her 1964 book, Legalism:
“What distinguishes most, though not all, political trials is that they scorn the principle of legality, which, ideally, renders criminal law just. To some degree most political trials follow Goebbels’s famous dictum that trials should not begin with the idea of law but with the idea that this man must go. The judge will be subservient to the prosecution, the evidence false, the accused bullied, the witnesses perjured, and the rules of law and procedure ignored” (1964: 149). [Emphasis added]
I went on to say that although Jahar’s outrageous trial met those criteria, I felt that it differed from the standard show trial of, say, the Stalin era.
My reason was a picky one and I am willing to drop it now and accept Josée Lépine’s “verdict.” I had said that it looked to me that they tried to kill Jahar in the boat but failed. (In Australia, we say they tried to kill Martin Bryant in the Seascape cottage fire but failed.)
Thus I categorized the trialling of Jahar as an inconvenience. In the Stalin trials the men were picked for the value of being able to show – as Lépine indicates – that a court can easily take an innocent man and reach a guilty verdict.
Stalin wanted the publicity of his chosen cases. But for Jahar, the powers that be would have preferred no trial. So what we got was a virtual roundup of his friends, some deportations I believe, the killing of Todashev – anything that would render silent the persons who might have something to say.
I think Josée Lépine was indeed forced to conclude that the Tsarnaev case is a SHOW TRIAL. I also think she legitimately feels that she has no choice but declare the eyewitness a fabricated witness. If Nathan did not hear gunshots he was not there. Alternatively, if he was there, there were no gunshots. Deduction: Sean Collier did not get killed in the way that is cited in the official story.
Jahar’s conviction cannot stand. It is a colossal fraud.
Gumshoe Bulletin: Good News – Multi-lingualism
A reader from Europe has offered to provide some English-to-Spanish (and also English to Catalan) translation of matters related to Jahar Tsarnaev. You can soon find, at Gumshoe, her translation of Maret Tsarnaev’s extremely important affidavit.
The editor will announce it.
The generous translator is Ms Montse Alarcón Flix.
— Josée Lépine lives in the province of Quebec. Mary W Maxwell lives in South Australia. Montse Alarcón Flix lives in Catalonia. Jahar Tsarnaev lives (unless they have killed him) in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado. Please get involved.