No “Eureka” Moment in Boston Bombing Videos or Images

Evidence against Tsarnaev: Shrouded in darkness, lacking clarity. U.S. Attorney’s handout.
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Evidence against Tsarnaev: Shrouded in darkness, lacking clarity. U.S. Attorney’s handout.

Evidence against Tsarnaev: Shrouded in darkness, lacking clarity. U.S. Attorney’s handout.

Grainy, dark, faded and inconclusive.

The state of the evidence thus far presented against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can be summed up in those four words.

From the first moments after the FBI’s April 18, 2013 press conference naming “White Hat” and “Black Hat” as the prime suspects, law enforcement has contended they had video that conclusively showed Tsarnaev dropping a backpack bomb at the Forum restaurant.

They were less confident that video surveillance at MIT showed the brothers ambushing MIT Officer Sean Collier. Instead, they had witness Dun “Danny” Meng to corroborate that Tamerlan Tsarnaev admitted to the killing.

Yet the video images and evidence photographs entered into the court record are proving to be anything but the “Eureka” moment former Boston FBI Chief Richard DesLauriers described in a National Geographic docu-drama.

Here’s what we have been shown:

• In the Forum video, we do see the brothers walking with backpacks, like hundreds of other marathon-goers, down Boylston Street. We see the brothers split, with Tamerlan Tsarnaev walking ahead of his little brother. We see Dzhokhar standing at the tree, but we only see a slight shrug that could be him placing the backpack at his feet. We certainly don’t see the backpack and we can’t see if he left with it before the fatal bombing.

• We do see Tsarnaev walking away without his backpack in subsequent photographs, but there was no indication in the much-heralded video if he dropped it at the Forum or somewhere between there and the Boylston/Fairfield intersection.

In the  surveillance video from MIT, we see two distant, dark and grainy people walk behind the Koch Building toward the Stata Building and up to Collier’s patrol car. We see other people walking and bicycling in the Quad, but no one seems to react to any loud gunshot-like noises. Finally, we see two grainy people run away. Viewers can’t even tell if these two people are male or female. Bicycling witness Nathan Harman says he saw a man who looked like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev leaning into the patrol car, but the defense didn’t bring out the fact that the man was quickly cycling by at night.

• Watertown police testified Monday that the Tsarnaev brothers attacked them with guns and pipe bombs on Dexter Avenue early in the morning on April 19, 2013. Tamerlan was killed in that shootout and Dzhokhar was on the run. However, the only pictures the jury and the public saw of the pipe bombs on the streets of Watertown are dark and, frankly, not of very good quality for an investigation of this magnitude. While collecting the bombs quickly is tantamount for the safety of both the police and residents, surely Watertown emergency service personnel have flood lights that could have been employed to improve the quality of the pictures.

• Finally, jurors got a chance Monday to view the boat where Tsarnaev was found hiding the following evening after the shootout. The boat notes were said to contain a confession—although that, too, might be a dubious claim—and were still scrawled upon the bullet-ridden, blood-stained boat. However, as reporters noted, the scribbles, too, had faded over time.

With the defense apparently making little effort to fight until the sentencing phase, who will ask why the video and photographic evidence presented in the case to date is so grainy, dark, faded and inconclusive?  In a death penalty case, the answer is important.

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30 responses to “No “Eureka” Moment in Boston Bombing Videos or Images”

  1. Izu Osirus says:

    Tumblr article

    I saw a writer writing about this on Tumblr and it linked to

  2. Title

    […]the time to read or go to the content or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[…]

  3. Steve says:

    HOW WERE THE BROTHERS IDENTIFIED AS SUSPECTS???

    Detectives claimed they were suspects from the video of them ‘walking casually’ after the blasts. The casual walking of the brothers was distinctive enough to separate them as suspects from hundreds of other spectators.

    Do we see the ‘casual’ walking that spurred the detectives to call a press conference and identify the two suspects?

  4. Boeser Wolf says:

    Also, note that while his brother’s backpack was black, Dzhokhar’s backpack was distinctly grey and could not have been one of the black backpacks that the government insists both bombs were contained in. That fact has stuck in my mind from the get-go. While I do believe the brothers were involved, I also believe they were set up as patsies by FBI agents (which is how the FBI operates to justify its continued existence). How convenient that Homeland Security was conducting a “simulated” bomb drill on that very same day along the marathon route. Hence, the added police and police dogs.

  5. jane24 says:

    Thanks Lara. Government’s “evidence” not what they purported it to be? Who’d have thought?

  6. barbara henninger says:

    Shouldn’t the gov’t be forced to prove that even granting Dzhokhar dropped the backpack (which is shaky) that that very pack was the one that exploded causing the death and injuries, and that it was not one of the other multitude of packs left by exiting bystanders? IMO, defense is doing a piss poor job considering their high faluting reputations.

    • jane24 says:

      Urging patience, Barbara. I do believe there is much more to come. The defense have already succeeded in raising some interesting questions in the courtroom. (But little if any of this is being reported by the msm.)

    • John Cathy says:

      give me a break. show trial, soviet style.

    • jane24 says:

      Not quite how I see things. (Or at least not yet!) That being said I have to acknowledge that both judge and jury in this case are obviously biased and that this does not bode well.

    • John Cathy says:

      They don’t want you to see it

    • jane24 says:

      You may be right but I sincerely hope that you are not. Guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks?

  7. barbara henninger says:

    I was watching the tv in my gym the other day and a friend remarked to the effect that there really wasn’t any need for a trial. I asked her what the evidence was against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? She just kind of stood there with her mouth open. Apparently people are now satisfied with trial by media.

  8. MarkInBoston says:

    Regarding the MIT videos, there are, indeed, two people who react to what might have been shots fired at Collier.

    In Exhibit 0725 we see two figures approach Collier’s cruiser, which is in the upper left of the frame. At 10:24:40 on the time stamp counter, seconds after the two figures arrive, the brake lights of the cruiser light up and a very faint flash, possibly a muzzle flash, can be seen (it took me several viewings at full screen to see the flash). At that same moment, a person on the upper right of the frame stops walking, as if s/he hears something. The person stands still for 4 or 5 seconds and then continues to walk away.

    Also seen in Exhibit 0725 there is a person walking along the footpath on the right side who keeps walking when the brake lights go on, but 12 seconds later at 10:24:52, this person turns the corner at the end of the path and immediately breaks into a frantic sprint off the screen.

    As far as I know, neither of these two witnesses have come forward.

    More troubling to me are missing key seconds in the MIT footage. Exhibit 0725 ends at 10:25:10, just after the person on the bike exits the upper left of the frame. The scene of the two figures running from the cruiser is found in Exhibit 0724. This scene of them fleeing picks up at 10:25:22, 12 seconds after the scene in Exhibit 0725 ended. These are important moments of the murder taking place and which contain roughly half the time the two figures were at the cruiser, and they have been edited out. Why? It’s 12 seconds of crucial information.

    It’s very troubling that the prosecution edited out this footage and equally troubling that the defense hasn’t called them on it.

  9. Bob says:

    It sounds like if he had a half way decent lawyer he might be able to get some of this evidence thrown out.
    If his lawyer doesn’t put up a visible fight, could he stop the trial? So he could get a new one?

    • Joel W says:

      His lawyer already proclaimed him guilty during opening statements. The fix is in.

    • sfulmer says:

      Isn’t it a strong case for an appeal? 1) the jury comes from a biased population; 2) the defense not only hasn’t defended, it actually admitted guilt even after pleading not guilty. Maybe during an appeal, in another city, a lawyer could contest the weaknesses in the prosecution.

    • barbara henninger says:

      This defense team acts like they’re afraid people won’t like them if they defend their client. Balls of a seahorse comes to mind. ( No offense to seahorses, btw.)

    • FiuToYou says:

      @Barbara:: When you have journalists and other people who know the truth about things, (not just this case), being murdered or suspiciously dying all over the place, maybe the “defence”, if you want to call it that, is piss scared. Or they’re working for the other side. In the past in this kind of situation, high powered attorneys would look at what’s going on here and step in to provide a REAL defence. Unfortunately good honest people are afraid to step forward in this day and age and rightly so. It’s called, ‘fearing for your life’. Kind of reminds you of Nazi Germany and the Gestapo. God bless America!!!!

    • jane24 says:

      I believe they are wise in not inciting more hatred for their client than already exists. Such hatred is inclined to make people blind to the facts and they need a clear sighted jury.

    • jane24 says:

      Multiple grounds for appeal already established for sure! (But I don’t think the performance of Tsarnaev’s defense will turn out to be one of them.)

    • danny j says:

      Judy Clarke, Tsarnaev’s lawyer has an interesting list of clients for whom she admitted their guilt, usually in plea deals, but succeeded in avoiding the death penalty.

      Susan Smith: Mother who drowned her children because Jebus told her to.

      Theodore Kaczynski: the “unabomber” who wrote a novel-length manifesto explaining why he had to kill people. She pleaded, so no trial.

      Buford Furrow: Aryan Nation guy who murdered Jewish children because Jebus. Pleaded, no trial.

      Zacarious Moussaui: the “20th hijacker” on 9/11.

      Eric Rudolph: the “Atlanta Olympics bomber” who also blew up abortion clinics because Jebus. Pleaded, no trial.

      Jared Lee Lougner: the Gabby Giffords mass murder shooter whose motives were left unknown since she pleaded a no-trial deal.

    • Gina says:

      Former wrestling teammate says the guy in the court hearing is NOT Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIm-TeodFT8

      It was said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had written a declaration on the wall of the boat he hid in heavily wounded. How can a heavily wounded person manage to write that neatly in a lying position.

    • danny j says:

      Thanks for the vid. I would not be at all surprised if the defendant in court is not Tsarnaev.

      The photos taken of his arrest seem to show an unwounded, or only slightly wounded Dzhokhar sitting on the boat’s rail, raising his shirt and then climbing down. But then photos show a bloodied, apparently unconscious Dzhokhar being treated by EMTs minutes later.

      At any rate, it sure was “convenient” that he found a pencil and was able to scrawl his manifesto all over the boat’s bulkheads, eh? I wonder if anyone has done a handwriting analysis?

    • Gina says:

      A pencil? I think to write on plastic one needs a special pen. Didn’t know ‘terrorists’ are so well equipped.

    • danny j says:

      Actually, a pencil could write on the wood and fiberglass much better than most pens. The photos entered into evidence look like pencil writing to me.

      But yeah, a lot of remarkable “coincidences” in this case… like so many others (I’m talking about you, 9/11).

    • jane24 says:

      The defense have already discredited some of the prosecution’s “evidence” and at least a couple of their witnesses.

  10. Brennan says:

    The much-anticipated ‘eureka’ video was shot from the side of the street opposite the Forum. Why have we seen only the Forum’s video instead ? This is much less than ‘eureka’ . Stephanie Douglas and Richard DesLauriers certainly talked it up, claiming that the picture featuring David Twomey (the runner in blue) picture showed ‘much the same view’ as ‘eureka’. So where is it ?

    • Janet says:

      Maybe there is somebody else in the “eureka” video they don’t want us to see. The defense might be happy the prosecution has not shown this video as their not entering it as evidence could add a margin of doubt, however small, in the minds of the jurors when considering the death penalty.

  11. NickDC says:

    While not necessarily a “Eureka moment” I’d love to understand how does Dzhokhar exit front passenger seat then 30 seconds later, “Danny”jumps out of the same door to make his escape? Are we to assume that Dzhokhar was sitting on “Danny’s” lap in the front seat when they arrived at the gas station?
    https://youtu.be/S3-MMovS7fU

    • oh_look says:

      Ya, and we never see either back door open. Danny said Jahar was in back behind him. But Jahar comes around the right side of the pumps. If he had been in back we would have seen the door move in back and him coming around the left side.

      Danny also lied, saying Tamerlan pulled a gun to his head when he got in car and again when Danny’s phone rang, but on Witness stand he admitted he never saw the gun!

      There is a guy that wrote an interesting theory about Danny actually being the brother’s handler. He states that he had read an article (back in 2013) that said Danny had $235K in his car. He thinks this is why they were transferring stuff from honda to mercedes. The Brothers were taking the Mercedes and Danny was suppose to take the Honda, but got worried because he knew it was a sting and the brother’s were going to be termed, so he got out and ran? It’s an interesting theory.

      Here is the article (you have to read down a ways to get to the car jacking part:

      https://edwardmd.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/two-fbi-agents-murdered-over-dannys-235000-the-closing-of-loose-lips-sinks-ships/

      Also, surprisingly an article at the Daily Beast explains why and HOW people are convinced they have seen something they really haven’t:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/13/the-phantom-video-of-the-boston-bomber-trial.html