Tsarnaev Trial Witnesses: Day Six

Day 6 Exhibits → HERE

Court continued on day six with the Collier murder.  At the start of the day, the prosecution played the surveillance tapes from Ames Street showing what the prosecution argued was the Tsarnaevs’ green, Honda Civic fleeing the MIT crime scene.

Witness 42:  State Trooper Michael Cashman
Cashman has worked the Homicide Unit out of MIddlesex County DA’s office since 2012.  He’s been a trooper since 2002.  He has 20-25 homicide investigations under his belt.  He worked both the Collier and Laurel St. crime scenes.

After playing the Ames St. surveillance video, Cashman testified that on the morning of April 19, 2013, authorities towed Tsarnaevs’ green Honda back to MIT campus in order to reenact the surveillance tape seen on Ames St.  They wanted to confirm it was the same car.

You can see the tape → (see exh_1466 and exh_1467)  HERE

Do they look similar?  Yeah.  They look pretty darn similar.  I’m not an idiot.  But let’s be honest, the feds aren’t going to play something that doesn’t look similar.

Ames Street

Cashman was also asked if he got a search warrant for a blood sample of Jahar’s blood after his arrest.  He did and he received three vials of Jahar’s blood from Beth Israel.  The jury was not shown the vials of blood.

No cross by the defense.

Witness 43:  Detective Anthony Grassi
Grassi is a Cambridge Police Detective.  He was only four blocks away from the MIT crime scene responding to the 7-11 robbery in Central Square when he got the call about Collier.  When he arrived on scene, he was told there was an active shooter in the area so he provided cover for the officers performing CPR on Officer Collier.

Grassi testified that he was told at the scene that Collier’s gun was taken.  However, he realized after Collier left in the ambulance that the gun had been secured by another officer (remember Henniger’s testimony?).  However, @carlwbz tweeted, “But that wasn’t true.  His gun was actually in the cruiser.”  Was it in the cruiser or was it secured by Henniger?  Did Henniger toss it in the backseat of Collier’s car as a means of securing it as seen  → HERE?  Maybe.  I have no idea what police protocol is in a situation like that.

Grassi also testified to the casings he found in Collier’s car.  He found three about seven to eight feet behind Collier’s car on the ground.  Grassi stated that typically casings are ejected from semi-automatic guns to the right.  Am I the only one wondering how shell casings ended up behind the car?  Then again, I’m the furthest from an expert.  The jury at this point was shown graphic crime scene photos inside of Collier’s car that showed the extensive amount of blood he lost inside it.  One shell casing was resting on top of his police hat.  A fifth casing was found on the floor of the passenger side as was a bullet fragment. In another photo you can see that the center console was damaged and the police radio was broken into multiple pieces.  The prosecution pointed out that the cover to Collier’s shoulder radio was in the backseat on the floor.  Passender side, I believe, but no quotes.  What does that mean?  No idea but here’s what @hollybdc tweeted:  “Prosecutor calling attention to the cover to Collier’s radio he had on shoulder is in far backseat.  Sign of struggle.”  Sign of struggle?  So it’s possible he was shot in the hands first and there was a struggle?

So how many witnesses were authorities able to find?
@GlobeCullen:  “We tried to find any witnesses.”  “Did you find any?”  “None.”
@Bostinno:  “Found 0 witnesses.”
@lilsarg:  “They found none.”
@hollybdc:  Grassi testifies they tried to find witnesses in nearby buildings.  But there were ‘none.'”
@MicheleMcPhee:  “Found none.”


No cross by the defense.

Witness 44:  Dr. Renee Robinson
Medical examiner who performed autopsy on Officer Sean Collier.  She has completed over 1,000 autopsies.

Robinson described the first part and second part of an autopsy which consists of an external exam and an internal exam where she looks for things like injury, trauma and disease.  She described how she examines a skull for gunshot wounds and can establish both the entry and exit wounds, and an estimation of gun distance when fired.  Folks, here’s the bottom line, she got into a lot of technical stuff regarding muzzle stamps, powder residue, skin burns and tattoos and more.  Let’s get to Collier.

His cause of death?  Gunshot wounds to the head.  He had three shots to the head, one directly between the eyes, and two to his hands.  In essence, he was killed right away, his brain completely destroyed by the gunshots.  She said the first shot was not against the skin but fairly close, perhaps a foot or a foot and a half away.  The bullet that struck him between the eyes traveled through his neck and severed his carotid artery.  The second wound was a contact range wound – the gun was pressed up against Collier.  It entered his left cheek.  The third bullet entered in front of his left ear and she testified that he “inhaled his own blood.”  The coroner explained “he was essentially dead right away.”  Horrible stuff.  Robinson also testified that she was not able to distinguish if the gunshots to the head happened before or after the shots to Collier’s right hand.

The jury was shown autopsy photos of Collier.  They were not made public.  Their response:
@wburLive:  “No reaction from jury to photo of Collier’s face after the shooting.”
@AlyshaNECN:  “…some put their hands to their mouths, others take notes.”
@GarretQuinn:  “They appear visibly stoic.”
@Laurel_Sweet:  “One juror covers her mouth and rocks in her chair…”
@GarretQuinn: “One juror is wiping away tears while viewing the autopsy photos.”
@TomLlamasABC:  “Some jurors look to be visibly shaken by Collier autopsy photos.”
@BostonJustice:  “Jurors composed, showing no emotion as they inspect autopsy photos of MIT officer Sean Collier.”

Cross by the Defense by Tim Watkins:
Q:  Gunshot residue can spray widely, could even land on shooter?
A:  It’s possible (@wburLive)

Q:  Can there be a blood splatter?
A:  Can be. (@GlobeCullen)
A:  Blood questions better handled by a blood splatter expert. (@wburLive)

Q:  Was stippling dispersed over a wide area or on Officer’s Collier’s face?
A:  It was on his face.  (@GlobeCullen)

(Added March 15, 2015)
Before we head into the Danny Manny Dun Meng story, here’s the MIT trial timeline I have.  This timeline is based on four videos the government has released:  1.  The video where you can see Nate Harmon riding his bike by Collier’s car – let’s call it the BV video.  2.  The MIT723 video which only shows the suspects leaving Collier’s car.  3.  The MIT724 video which shows the suspects approaching the car and fleeing the car, but not in its entirety. 4.  The McDermott Court Gate video (MCG).

Videos can be find HERE and HERE

MIT724:  10:16:17  The front of Collier’s cruiser enters view on bottom left of screen.

MIT724:  10:16:41:  Collier parks his car.  His brake lights go off.  The film ends at 10:16:50.

From 10:16:51  – 10:23:29:  No footage released.

MIT724:  10:23:30  Two suspects are seen entering view in the top, right corner of the video.

BV:          10:24:30  Collier’s cruiser still parked in the court.

BV:          10:24:35  Suspects approach the side of Collier’s cruiser.
MIT724:  10:24:35  Suspects approach the side of Collier’s cruiser.

MIT724:  Video cuts out after suspects approach the side of Collier’s cruiser.

BV:          10:24:38  Cruiser brake lights go on.  A person is seen bicycling up from the bottom of the screen.  A person is also walking/jogging on the right far side of the screen.  A third person is seen walking north on the right-side path by the same building the suspects came from.

BV:          10:24:55  The third person runs out of view towards Ames Street.

BV:          10:24:58  The bicyclist is seen within feet of suspects and Collier’s open, driver-side door.

BV:          10:25:05  Cruiser brake lights go on and off.  The break lights remain off.

BV:          10:25:11  The break lights are still off.  The bicycle tape ends.

MIT723:  10:25:22  The break lights are back on.  Suspects are seen leaving the cruiser.
MIT724:  Same as above

MIT724: 10:25:38  Suspects seen running, then walking away.  At the bottom of the screen you see two people running swiftly towards towards the two suspects.

MIT724:  10:25:54  The two people running up from the bottom of the screen reach the suspects and are seen literally right next to them, a foot or two away.  The runners continue north.  The suspects turn east towards Ames.

MIT724:  Footage cuts out at 10:26:09, shortly after suspects head east.

MIT724:  10:26:10 – 10:30:16 No footage released

MCG:     10:26:53  The government argues Tsarnaev’s green, Honda Civic is seen on video fleeing  MIT campus.

MIT724:  10:30:24 Henniger’s cruiser is seen pulling in on the upper-right side.

MIT724:  10:30:30  A man is seen walking north-east from the central grassy area, he heads directly to Collier’s car, walks within a foot or two of his open, drivers-side door, directly in front of Henniger’s cruiser, and continues down the street and disappears.

MIT724:  10:30:37  Someone is seen coming out of the building and around the corner to Collier’s car.  The other man from the grassy area is directly next to Collier’s car at this point.

MIT724:  10:31:10  A second cruiser is seen at the top of the screen, arriving on scene.


Witness 45:  Alan Mednik
Mednik is the owner of the Shell gas station in Cambridge located at 820 Memorial Drive, across from the Mobil station.  You know where this is going.

Mednk testified that his station has sixteen security cameras in total in and around the property.  The station also has a Food Mart that sells snacks and drinks and such.  On April 18, 2013, Mednik received a call at 12:30pm from his cashier working that night who told him Mednik needed to get down to the gas station, the cops wanted to speak with him.  However, other tweets went out that the owner was called by the police and told not to look at any of his surveillance videos until they arrived (@dhausleon7).  But hadn’t the police already arrived?  Yeah.  Yeah, they had.

When he got to the station at 1am, he first played back the surveillance videos for the police, more specifically, for Cambridge Detective Flynn and then for the Massachusetts State Police.  After them?  The feds.  But this dude didn’t just replay the videos for all these folks, he made flash drives for the feds and printed out pictures of the surveillance vids for everyone with his nifty portable color printer that he just so happened to be carrying with him.  Uh huh.  Per @lilsarg, “The gas station owner testifying now JUST HAPPENS to always carry a portable color printer in his car.  Wait – what?”  You got that right.

Surveillance video at the Shell gas station → HERE (exh 748)

No cross by the defense.

Witness 46:  Eddie Lakkis
Manager at the Mobil gas station across the street from the Shell gas station (that Mednik just testified about).

Lakkis testified that there are sixteen surveillance cameras in and around the Mobil gas station.  Four of them are located inside.  The Cambridge police called him down to the station after midnight (I don’t have a time) so he could pull surveillance videos for them. He only pulled one video.  It was not shown to the jury at this time.

No cross by the defense.

Witness 47:  Dun Meng
This guy should probably have his own post, eh?

Witness 48:  William O’Keefe
Vice President of Corporate Security at Bank of America.

O’Keefe was called in by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) to retrieve video from the BOA ATM machine located at 39 Main St., Watertown.  He was told that Dun Meng, a customer of Bank of America, had been involved in a carjacking so he pulled the video where Jahar could be seen withdrawing money at the ATM and put it on a thumb drive for authorities.

O’Keefe testified that Dun Meng, before the carjacking, had a balance of $1,516.57 in his account.  At 11:18pm on April 18, 2013, Jahar used Meng’s card at the BOA 39 Main St. ATM but imputed the wrong pin number.  He tried a second time and was able to withdraw $800.00.  That withdrawal happened at 11:19pm.  When Jahar tried to take out another $800, the request was rejected.  It was over the 24-hour time period limit.  At 11:21pm, he exits the lobby of the ATM.

You can see the video → HERE (see exh 756)

No cross from the defense.

Witness 49:  Officer Michael Nickerson
Cambridge police officer that responded to Dun Meng’s 911 call from the Mobil gas station.  He started working at 11pm that evening and own the way to work he learned about the Collier shooting.

Nickerson testified that he responded to the Mobil station after Dun Meng’s 911 call around 12:19pm.  Nickerson reported on the stand that Meng appeared very scared that evening and that “you could tell he was a victim of something” (@hollybdc).  Upon arrival, Meng gave Nickerson a description of his vehicle and the registration number because, well, who doesn’t have that memorized, am I right?  Meng also told him that his vehicle had a tracking system (Mbrace) so Nickerson contacted the company and also called out Meng’s plate number to dispatch.

No cross by the defense.

Witness 50:  Joseph Sullivan
City of Cambridge Emergency Communication Supervisor.  He is currently a civilian supervisor, worked for the Cambridge Police Department for twenty-two years.  Sullivan was working the 11pm – 7am shift the night of April 18, 2013.  When he got to work, he was told that the Cambridge police were already talking to MBrace to track Meng’s carjacked Mercedes SUV.

Sullivan testified that the carjacking report came in after midnight and that Dun Meng told authorities that the men who had carjacked him said they were the Boston bombers.  Amazing isn’t it that Watertown PD (and every other department) still claim they had no idea those two guys on Laurel were bombing suspects?  Huh.  Sullivan also testified that he dispatched Cambridge police to the MIT scene – although that was a good thirty minutes after his murder.

After contacting Mercedes (Mbrace?) to turn the GPS system on in the vehicle, Sullivan said that they were to ping the SUV within several yards or feet.  The vehicle pinged to 87 Dexter Ave. in Watertown, although it appeared to be moving.  Sullivan immediately announced the location of the vehicle over police radio.  After officers (Watertown PD) made contact with the vehicle (the upcoming shootout), Sullivan hung up with MBrace.

No cross by the defense.

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