Home Boston Heather Frizzell Inspects the “Tsarnaev Weapon” (the Gun That Killed Sean Collier)

Heather Frizzell Inspects the “Tsarnaev Weapon” (the Gun That Killed Sean Collier)


exh-948-231-largeExhibit 948-231 – The Ruger as it was found at the crime scene in Watertown.

By Mary W Maxwell, LLB

A Boston woman, Heather Frizzell, has been working hard on the Marathon bombing trial. In this article I summarize what she has learned about the gun allegedly used by the Tsarnaev brothers to kill the 28-year-old MIT campus cop, Sean Collier.

This is urgent stuff: Jahar’s appeal is coming up very soon and it’s curtains if he doesn’t win. Heather says:

“After months of pouring over the eyewitness testimony and studying the location in question, I am confident of one thing: the person who appeared at Collier’s [car] window with a gun wasn’t Tsarnaev.”

The research published by Ms Frizzell is lengthy so I will only recap it here. First, the dramatis personae of the gun story:

— Jahar, a student at UMass, Dartmouth (which is an hour’s drive south of Boston).

— Stephen Silva, his close friend since eighth grade. At the time of these events they are both age 20 or so. Silva lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts (I will refrain from saying “Assachusetts” today, out of respect for Ms Frizzell who is very precise and cautious.) Silva is the man who allegedly lent a gun – a Ruger P95 handgun — to Jahar.

— Howie, real name: Merhawi Berhe, the man who allegedly lent that gun to Stephen (Howie is thus the grandfather of the gun that shot Collier, so to speak).

— Dias, Jahar’s pal who is doing 6 years for having “obstructed the investigation of Jahar’s terrorism” by dumping a backpack or a laptop in a dumpster.

— Steven Silva, the twin bro of Stephen Silva, no joke (same age) – doesn’t figure much in the story. Heather vouchsafes to say SILVA, no first name, when she means Stephen. OK?

— US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty, the prosecutor (seconding Carmen Ortiz) in the 2015 trial of Jahar.

— Miriam Conrad, the defense attorney (seconding Judy Clarke) in the 2015 trial of Jahar.

— Abdul, no surname, makes a cameo appearance if you’re really paying attention

— Dad, retired lawyer, Thomas Frizzell, father of Heather, whom she often mentions as giving technical advice to her.

This article is all taken from Frizzell’s “Who Killed Sean Collier: Part Two, the Gun” It’s forty pages long. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Main Themes:

  1. There is a need to trace the chain of custody of the weapon.
  1. After Jahar was imprisoned, Dias got imprisoned and is not exactly contactable.
  1. Jahar is extremely uncontactable (he may be the most uncontactable person in America today) – and if he were contacted, chances are he would be loyal to his friend Silva and not upset the applecart. (Mary)

Note: Heather does not speculate, so I will try to hold back. If it bursts out of me I will write “Mary” in parentheses as above.

  1. Silva was arrested after Jahar went to prison, he was charged with major drug dealing, and was threatened with more than a hundred years in jail.

To anticipate the next bit, think what you would do if you were charged like that but your trial had not come up yet. Hint: it rhymes with flea bargain. (Mary)

  1. Silva alleges that Jahar asked, in January 2013, to borrow the gun that Howie had lent to Silva, and then Jahar failed to return it by the Marathon date of April 15, 2013. (Ah, sweet innuendo of life, at last I’ve found you.)

January is the same month the Tsarnaev’s rode off to Saugus Mall to buy, without using a credit card or anything traceable, the five mythical pressure cookers. (Mary)

  1. In a move that “Dad” calls “giving away the courthouse,” the government entity prosecuting drug-dealer Silva decides to forego the pleasure of catching a drug crim and lets him off, in exchange for pinning the gun on Jahar Tsarnaev. Natch.
  1. Hence, Silva shows up as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of his dear buddy Jahar and does what we used to call in Catechism class “a Judas.” (Mary)
  1. Heather fine-tooth-combs the Silva case file and discovers that the evidence Silva presented was gossamer-like and the pretend-prosecutors did not ask the right questions. (Dad)
  1. Gun laws in Massachusetts are unusually strict. You can go to jail, for example, for being in possession of a “dirty” gun, that is, one that has a history of having been used for violent crime even if you had nothing to do with that.
  1. Howie, of all people, got arrested at a stunningly significant moment.

The Gun

Heather says:  “The murder weapon was a Ruger P95 handgun with the serial number filed off, recovered from the shootout in Watertown,

[Noooooooooo, noooooooo (Mary)]

the gun that was in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possession. This was established at trial through testimony, and Massachusetts State Police reports also match the ballistics from the Ruger to the bullets recovered from Collier’s body…. (Oh-oh ballistics – Mary)


Late 2012:  “Near the end of 2012 — the timestamp provided by Mr. Chakravarty, not Silva — an opportunity arose to get a gun.”  Howie asks Silva to mind the offending object, as he was worried his mother would search his room, as mothers do.

Once Silva has it, he thinks, “I could have some fun with this.” So, he sits in a car when customer comes to buy drugs off him, takes their money, does not hand over the drugs and then threatens to kill them if they don’t am-scray quick smart. (Heather notes that this is no way for a merchant to build up good will in the buying community.)

— December, 2012 : A man’s gotta show off, so Silva boasts at a party to having carried off the deed. A laugh is heard from Jahar, who is at the putative party – and wait till you see how putative Heather thinks it is; she almost loses her conservatism over this one.

When friends, including Jahar were in Silva’s apartment he showed them where he kept the gun, in a ceiling panel. (Just wondering if anyone remembers the Martin Bryant twenty-guns-in-the-white-piano story) (Mary).

Jahar does not at that moment say “I want to borrow it.” He says it on a different day when there are no party-goers. i.e., no witnesses to hear him say it. Natch.

— January 23-ish, 2012: At some later time Jahar goes to Silva’s house, having made no phone call or text message to check that Silva is home. (Recall Dartmouth is an hour’s drive, to pick up this new toy.) Heather refers to Jahar and his cohort as “of the millennial generation that puts everything into a text, a tweet, a chat, etc.” Yet the court never sees any of that confirmatory evidence.

Subsequent to Jahar’s borrowing the gun, and with nary a query from Silva as to whether the young Chechen has actually deployed the damn thing, Silva asks Jahar to return it “because Howie is wanting it again.” (The Mom coast is clear.)

— March, 2013: Jahar, in training for the Marathon as it were, is busy and keeps putting Silva off as to when he can hand it over. So spake Silva to the prosecution team (or was it the defense team? In this trial they are more identical than Steve and Stephen).

April 15, 2013 – Income tax day; Jeff Bauman goes to hospital, etc.; also it’s Patriot’s Day.  New movie by that name coming out soon to justify the event known as Jahar’s execution. (Heather) (But Heather did not state that so crudely.)

As Heather Tells It

I will now state some of the above quoting Heather and the various principals in the case. But if you are pressed for time, hop to the bottom where she springs quite the denouement.

[Prosecutor at Jahar’s 2015 trial elicits the gulch from Silva:]

Q – Explain that opportunity.

A – Well, like I said, me and my brother and my friend [Nicholas Silva, who is a cousin whose sibling got beat up and so wanted a weapon type thing] had been talking about obtaining a gun.

Around the same time a friend of mine from my neighborhood [the elusive Howie], asked me if I could do him a favor and hold down a firearm for him because he needed to get it out of his house.

Q – What was his name?

A – Howie.

“Nothing is given about the transfer of the gun from Howie to SilvA – We also know nothing about who might have seen the gun change hands. However, from Silva’s testimony, he then “stored it away in my apartment, in a ceiling panel”, and states that the people who know about it are “my twin, my friend and a few close associates”. So that means Steven, Nicholas and “a few close associates” could have all been called to testify to corroborate Silva’s story. But the mysterious associates never appeared at trial.”

Q – Did you tell the defendant?

A – Yes.

Q – What was his reaction when you told him that you had a gun?

A – It wasn’t much of a reaction. He just acknowledged it.

A – When I got down to Florida I just hung out at a friend’s house and continued selling weed.

Q – How long did you do that for?

A – From about the middle of August until the end of November.

Q – November 2012? …

A – At that time I came back from Florida, my brother [SteVen] and friend had an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts.

Q – Did you take the gun out of your residence again?

A – Yes, one more time.

Q – When was that?

A – New Year’s Eve 2012.

Q – And where did you take it?

A – To a friend’s apartment in Medford, Massachusetts.

Q – What was happening there?

A – Nothing. We were just throwing a New Year’s Eve party.

Q – Why did you take it there?

A – I was just being stupid. I wanted to show it off.

Q – And did you?

A – Yes.

Q – Did the defendant come to that house?

A – Yes.

Heather always looks into these thing in detail: “It’s happening on a specific date for a specific occasion, meaning many of the attendees would be likely to remember whether they were there and that someone might have shown off a gun.”

Then Heather looks at the boys’ tweets. “That’s strange. Here Silva is saying he has the flu and isn’t planning to go out for New Year’s Eve, which directly contradicts the story he gave in court. Not only that, but their exchange seems to imply that Dzhokhar doesn’t have plans to go out either. …”

Q – When you talked to him about the gun, did he ask you for anything?

A – Yes.

Q – What did he ask you for?

A – He asked me to potentially borrow the gun….

Q – Did he tell you why he needed the gun?

A – Yes.

Q – What did he tell you?

A – He said he wanted to rip some kids from URI.

Q – When you say “rip,” what does that mean?

A – Rob.

Q – Is that what you did with Nicholas a few months earlier?

A – Yes.

“Silva has never seen an aggressive streak in Dzhokhar. On Miriam Conrad’s cross, she points out”:

Q – And he [Jahar] wasn’t violent, right?

A – No. I’ve never seen him violent.

Q – And he never picked on anybody?

A – No.

Q – He was kindhearted?

A – Yes, he was.

Q – Now, this robbery that you told us about, you — that you did?

A – Yes.

Q – You didn’t tell the Feds about that the first, second, third or even fourth time that you sat down with them, did you?

A – Initially, no, I did not.

Q – In fact, what you told them was that you didn’t believe in sticking people up?

A – Yes, I did.

[Miriam fails to yell Liar, liar, pants on fire at this juncture.]

Q – And, in fact, you told them that you had never discussed a robbery with anyone before Jahar asked to borrow the gun, right?

A – Yes.

Q – Was he with anyone?

A – Yes, he was.

Q – Who was he with?

A – Dias.

“At the time of Silva’s testimony, Dias was in federal custody awaiting sentencing — a perfect witness to corroborate Silva’s story.” But he might as well have been in Timbuktu. (Mary)

“Then Silva arrives at the last time he saw Dzhokhar before the Marathon. By now, it’s early April and he has still not received the Ruger back, but has made no more statements about what Howie was doing during this time. In fact, according to Silva, this was a brief meeting in which Dzhokhar purchased some weed.”

“It’s difficult to track the prosecution’s view of Dzhokhar’s marijuana usage, because at different times during the trial they either used evidence that he had cut back on smoking as a sign of radicalization, or evidence that he dealt on campus as a symptom of bad character.” [See? Heather, in the tradition of Cheryl Dean and Josée Lépine, picks up every nuance.]

A – When I got back I put the marijuana in the — Dias’ car’s trunk, and then I talked to the defendant [best mate] very shortly. He wasn’t really talking to me much. I was trying to get into a deeper conversation with him but he said he was in a rush.

And I asked him about the gun and he gave me another excuse on why he couldn’t — why he didn’t bring it that day. And then I remember Dias saying, “Oh, we’re in a rush, we’re in a rush.” So I only talked to him for a little bit, told the defendant, you know, I loved him [!! That was before…], and then I got out of the car.

Heather Frizzell’s Big Find

“On March 25th I woke up and saw a Boston Globe article with the headline ‘Source of Gun Used by Tsarnaevs to Kill Sean Collier Pleads Guilty.’ I told my Dad and he wanted more: What was the plea agreement? Was there an indictment? What exactly were the charges? When did they take him in?

“I was able to log onto the district court’s website and pull a few relevant documents. The guilty plea agreement hadn’t been filed yet, but the indictment and the court docket were there.  The charge was very strange. It was only one count of possession of the Ruger P95 handgun. There was nothing about the transfer of the gun to Silva, which would be a separate charge.”

“[Recall that] Silva, in July 2014, was arrested for seven counts of heroin possession with intent to distribute, and one count of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, also known as Sean Collier’s murder weapon.

“And indeed, in December 2015, Silva was given a hearing, and received a sentence of time served. After seventeen months, he was free, despite multiple instances of heroin distribution, because he had ‘substantially assisted.’

“On the same day, at the same time, in the same courthouse, one floor apart, as Stephen Silva testified that he received the Ruger P95 that killed Officer Sean Collier from him, Merhawi Berhe was pleading not guilty to possessing the very same weapon.”

Heather is continuing the saga at her website:

— Mary W Maxwell, and the Editor of Gumshoe Dee McLachlan, welcome new pieces about the Tsarnaev case.





  1. Readers can search the name”Collier” in Gumshoe’s website to be reminded of “the tiny figures” at MIT and all that.

    Or, if you’re hungry, hit the word “Boston” in the masthead and get a few million articles.

  2. By the looks of that gun I would say that it was retrieved from an FBI warehouse then pin on Silva so he could say he gave it to Jahar so Jahar could be ‘safely’ killed by Boston. We also have to remember that Collier’s cruiser which was evidence in this case was DESTROYED a week after Collier was killed in it. Strange, getting stranger, and stranger.

    • Josée, when I see that the caption of the gun photo says “it was found in situ in Watertown” and I know there weren’t no situ in Watertown, I don’t think I even need to go down the Heather route of checking out the non-weapon’s chain of custody.

      However it is wonderful that Heather “is not like us.” I am told she thinks the Tsarnaevs were in it up to their neck. Still she has pushed the Sean Collier investigation — where no angels fear to tread — to such a point (beyond even what our darling Josée did in her court analysis of Nathan Harman’s testimony) that she has, by the by, landed this proof that Silva was “tampered with.”

      And opened, for the likes of us, the amazing question: if the MIT cop Sean Collier was really murdered, and not by the Chechen connection, WHO DID MURDER COLLIER?

      You think peeps don’t murder someone just to be able to blame another for it? See Robert Merritt’s “Watergate Exposed.” He says a drag queen who was a telephone operator in San Francisco inadvertently overheard proof of who really dunnit. So the feds killed that telephone operator off, and then to provide a story, killed 5 more drag queens. “Oh, you know how it is, somebody around here hates drag queens.”

      Puh-leeze. And that’s what I think happened to Monis’ ex-wife. A gruesome killing so all Aussies would feel satisfied that they really understand what a bad person Monis was. He was also an embezzler and a conman for sex.

      Did you know Albert de Salvo was also a conman for sex? He (allegedly) knocked on many doors and told the woman of the house that he was taking measurements for models. Funny he never seemed to have got a household where the girl had a husband, ready to punch his teeth out.

      • Glad I read your comment here Mary… I keep getting excited by Heather’s articles only to find she stops short with each one in order to leave the door wide open for guilt to be kept with the Tsarnaevs. I am frustrated and suspicious as to why she does that. I am trying to remain hopeful that it is because she is taking such a careful approach due to the fact that she and her father are examining all thru the lens of his legal expertise and that at some point, the actual evidence they are uncovering will lead them to the same belief on which folk like you and I and Cheryl and Josee and a host of others are already hanging our hat! Keeping my fingers crossed for that to happen!

        • Lynn, I think it’s dandy that Heather is “on the fence.” Most Bostonians I know won’t even go near the fence.

          In fact I’d rather see some lawyers give in on a few points (ah, maybe a few dozen points) about improper court procedure and NOT EVEN TAKE ANY POSITION on the guilt or innocence of the prisoner.

          Let one of them just put a comment in a law journal about “a certain judge” shaking hands with jury members PRE-TRIAL.

          Any newcomers to this website just type “Cheryl Dean” in the search engine above, and get ready for some amazing breaches of the law IN A COURTROOM.

          (Lynn, don’t get yor knickers in a knot about typos. At Gumshoe we go to print when we are “moved”, not three days later when we’ve got the punctuation perfected.)

  3. When Silva testified, Alone Chakravarty, prosecutor, had in his hand Silva’s plea agreement, and so did the defense team. Go look at it and you will see that the gun did not come from Howie to Silva and then to Jahar. No, it went from Howie, to someone (name blacked), to Silva and then to Jahar (which I do not believe at all that Jahar ever laid his eyes on that gun). So you see Silva was lying on the stand and prosecutor Chakravarty was well aware of it, so was the defense team. So how do you call that: PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT!

  4. great article Mary! Yes, Heather is extremely good at researching every detail. The main issue here is that prosecutor Chakravarty, who prepared Silva to testify, and obviously knew he was going to lie (to help the prosecution), committed prosecutorial misconduct, which is a crime. He knew that the gun didn’t come from “Howie”, it came from someone that the government is suspiciously protecting, likely an FBI informant, someone who was trying to frame Dzhokhar, making it easier for the prosecution to get the death sentence they so desperately wanted.

    Putting that gun in Dzhokhar’s hands was absolutely paramount to the whole case and they were willing to over step the law and do whatever they had to do, with no concern at all for the truth. That is a crime! After Silva testified, a 5K1 document, signed by Carmen Ortiz was given to the judge who was to sentence Silva on his charges. In the 5K1 it states that Silva gave “substantial assistance” to the prosecution and gave credible testimony at Dzhokhar’s trial. In that same document it shows the chain of ownership of the gun including the redacted
    name of the person who actually (allegedly) gave Dzhokhar the gun.

    So everyone involved was clearly aware of this big lie including Carmen Ortiz. Let’s hope Dzhokhar’s new lawyers open an inquiry into this, which is only one of many more that will be uncovered in this most corrupt trial, that sentenced an innocent young man to death. This is just the beginning.

    • Cheryl, I am glad you provided the phrase:
      “making it easier for the prosecution to get the death sentence they so desperately wanted.”
      John Avery and Damian Bugg, take a bow.

      Or even before that, the SOGs who got “the death they so desperately wanted” — by fire, in Seascape — except oops, the target came waltzing out alive.

      Heather’s article made me think how precarious it is for the Bozos to pull off big tricks. You just don’t know if one thing may go wrong.

      Ms Dean, here is your article about Silva —

      I see that Gumshoe published it in Oz on Jan 1, 2016 when it was still New Year’s Eve in North America. I’ll bet Ms Frizzell could find clue in that….

  5. I’m sure this article would be good for someone to read who has never studied the case with its slow and methodical pace. It just seems somewhat frustrating to me that it has taken over 2 years to get this far. At this rate, the truth will be known to all about 20 years after they execute him.


  6. While I agree with Heather and her father when it comes to Dzhokhar, I can’t reconcile what my own eyes tell me about the victims and this means I can not get cozy with the idea that Tamerlan is guilty either. Governments stage fake terror incidents with fake victims, not private citizens.

    Therefore throwing it out there that another possible reason the government did not want to allow Tamerlan’s story to be investigated and told in court is not only because it clears Dzhokhar of wrongdoing but because it clears Tamerlan as well – and leaves the government holding the bag – or should I say the pressure cooker…

    • Dear Leah, I think Tamerlan’s yelling “Podstava” is a clue that he knew he had participated up to a certain point.

      I don’t think it means he pressure-cookered anyone at the Marathon. Maybe he had done small errands for the FBI.

      I still haven’t been able to process his saying to his Dad in Russia, by phone, BEFORE he was captured, “Since when do we go to Marathons?” But personally I try not to say “He was not there; it’s all photoshopped” as that makes it all too hard for folks to swallow.

      I know you to be a clear thinker, Leah — what do you propose is the truth of “Patriot’s Day” 2013?

      • Well, Mary, I certainly try to be a clear-thinking person but I would be lying if I said that description fits me 100% of the time…

        Even after all this time, I think there is what I believe, what I want to believe and the truth. For me, there are still huge holes to the story…

        I continue to be grateful for the work Heather and her father are doing. And I continue to be in agreement with their findings for the most part.

        I am unshaken in the belief that Dzhokhar is completely innocent of any crime for which he was accused and convicted. In addition I am still firmly in the crisis actor/prior amputees camp. I have seen and heard enough in support of that belief to abandon it.

        I think we actually know, for the most part, what happened… Two smoke bombs were set off etc.

        What we don’t know is why and the why, I believe, will finally explain the who.

        I am hard at work on a new blog post. I hope it will shine a little more light on things until the time when the last piece falls into place and we at last, finally and fully know.

        With all the voices speaking about this terrible event, sometimes the only comfort I have comes from knowing the Lord knows exactly what happened and who is responsible. I know in His way and in His timing, He will reveal all.

        I know I sort of dodged your question though I didn’t mean to…

          • Thanks. I was totally opposed to the “prior amputee” stuff until I read Dr Lorraine Day. She says “Hey I’m an orthopedic surgeon and Jeff Bauman is not dinky di.” (That’s a translation.)

            I now believe her but I must say she did something I don’t approve of. She went on to say, flat out, that there were NO genuine amputations caused by the smoke bomb. Sorry, Lorraine, but you did not inspect any photos except Jeff’s so you can’t make that claim.

            As for it being a smoke bomb, a certain filmmaking person at Gumshoe whose identity shall be protected unless she cares to step forward, has told me that she can make a smokebomb as easily as making supper, and has in fact done that in one of her movies.

          • Well let’s consider this: if you have a bunch of real victims who suffer amputated limbs and other severe injuries, where would be the need for even one Jeff Bauman?

            Ever since you asked me what I think last night I have been mulling it over carefully even tho I gave you somewhat of an answer already. Here now is what sleeping on it has brought me to:

            One can either believe Tamerlan, a private citizen, conceived, planned and carried out the Boston Marathon bombing with a real bomb which caused victims to suffer genuine and horrific injuries and which killed 3 people…
            One can believe the Boston Marathon bombing was conceived, planned and carried out by the US government and to that end they groomed Tamerlan well in advance, hiring him in some sort of secret capacity, exploiting his need for money, his ego, his beliefs, his vulnerable economic circumstances, his emotional volatility – or some combination of those recruitable factors – and once Tamerlan was in that capacity, created enough history for his life for there to be believable culpability once they carried out the bombing at the marathon.

            Under the government-did-it-and-pinned-it-on-the-Tsarnaevs scenario, one would also believe the bomb was a smoke bomb that killed and injured no one, as those present were hired, prior-amputee crisis actors as well as actors hired to play the rolls of ALL persons who remained at scene or came to the scene once the sight and sound of the explosions scared away all spectators who were not on on the staged tragedy.

            There is NO scenario that implicates Dzhokhar. His innocence is beyond question. I believe the government did not bother to create fake radical history for him Like they did for Tamerlan because in their minds his death by law enforcement was going to be a foregone conclusion.

            In addition, one person (Tamerlan) would have been easier to control then two AND Dzhokhar’s character, lack of zeal for religion, personality, personality… none of that would have made him an attractive candidate for recruitment by the government.

            Proverbs 20:5 says “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I believe that is what God is using me to do with my blog.

            I look forward to the day Heather and her father arrive at the conclusion I have reached: that the government would not allow the defense to talk about or examine Tamerlan’s story during the trial, not just because doing so would have further proven Dzhokhar’s innocence, but due to the fact that doing so would have also exonerated Tamerlan and that would have led to the exposure of the actual responsible entities and I believe we are all fast-approaching the time when with one accord we understand it was no private citizen at all but our own US government. When we figure out what the government had to gain by doing this we will be better able to pinpoint who exactly could have, would have and did conceive, plan and carry out, albeit through others, the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
            I believe with this comment I have just written my next blog post!
            Thanks for asking Mary! It is always a pleasure to talk to you! Now if only Peekay would contact me – what fun that would be!

    • How I would love to be present to see and hear Henneberry’s reaction when he realizes for the first time that that young man he found in his boat was in fact innocent all along and that the very people he is currently thanking and feeling such compassion for are in fact guilty of numerous crimes, many of which were knowingly committed against the Tsarnaev brothers.

      When at last God makes the crooked things straight in this case, many who are now proudly in the spotlight will instead be filled with shame for what they have done.

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