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Boston Bombing News: Did Dzhokhar Write the Boat-Note?

We did not learn about the alleged boat-note until a month after Dzhokhar’s arrest. 11 months later, we finally have a visual aid to study. This post will ask the same question previously posed by M. Baker: On what part of the boat was this note written?

Here is a montage of photos. It includes ABC’s leaked image of the note, a helicopter image of Dzhokhar lying down in the boat, a photo of his arrest, and two pictures of the boat being examined after the arrest (one taken from each side of the fence).

The note is on a vertical piece of white or light-colored material. There are four bullet holes, two long, fresh-looking blood trails, and several smaller drips and spots. My resident Neutral Observer agrees that it was created on a vertical surface, because the blood drips are moving downward.

We have repeatedly been told that it was written on the wall of the boat. How? The side walls are covered with maple-colored wood paneling, with narrow white horizontal trim. There is a larger white area at the back end of the boat, but Dzhokhar did his vertical bleeding at the front, next to the windshield. In post-arrest photos, there is no writing visible on the back, and no bullet holes there. The floor and the large oblong seat or box are white, but they’re not vertical.

Looking at these photos, I began to wonder how the prosecution could possibly present this thing in court as part of the boat. I found one (only one) location which they might be able to sell to a jury. But the question remains: was the note already present when these photos were taken, or was it manufactured later?

In the top post-arrest photo, there is a white vertical panel below the place where Dzhokhar straddled the side of the boat (i.e., the corner of the windshield). At least half, maybe two-thirds of this panel is visible behind the upended seat.

The panel appears to be part of a movable storage module. In the bottom photo, the module has been moved to the other side of the boat (the fence side). It’s in the way of the steering wheel; it couldn’t normally be there. And in the helicopter photo, Dzhokhar was lying on the fence side; there was no module there. So, there must be only one module.

The white-uniformed technicians in the photos are not displaying any special interest in this storage module. If the note were on it at that point (several days after the arrest) surely they would have it stashed in a safe place, or have already sent it to the FBI lab, instead of casually leaving it in the boat.

I cannot see any writing or bullet holes on the visible portion of the panel. Also, the pattern of bullet holes on the outside of the boat does not match up with the holes in the note image.

If this panel is indeed the designated note surface, an interesting thought occurs: If you wanted to forge a note in this situation, a movable object would be ideal for the purpose. Transport it to a private place, create the note at your leisure, add bullet holes, and re-apply the blood. Then, in court, present it with a grain of truth: this object was in the right place at the right time to be shot full of holes and bled upon.

I’m harping on this because the new image of the note has narrowed the options for where it can be, and I really cannot see any other possibilities in the photos I have studied.

Other reasons for believing this note is a fake …

It was dark when he got to the boat at 2 am. After dawn, he was still under the tarp, which does not look transparent.

When found, he was lying down, and the floor was spattered with blood. He was wounded and exhausted. If he did want to write something, it would seem easier to prop himself up on one elbow and write on the floor, or pull himself up and write on the seat, instead of crawling around the boat looking for a suitable vertical surface.

The alleged contents of the note, like everything else in this crazy case, have morphed several times over the past year. What’s in, what’s out?

They are still insisting that he knew Tamerlan was dead. Why? Tamerlan died in the hospital, and Dzhokhar did not run him over. (Emergency room personnel confirmed this.) The latest version has him lamenting that he has not yet “met Allah” as his brother has. This supposedly from a resilient young man who is not suicidal, who in fact struggled very hard that night to stay alive.

A previous version contains this pompous statement: “I don’t mourn my brother, because he is a martyr in Paradise, where I expect to be soon.” Really? His tweets reveal an intelligent person with a strong sense of irony — not some ranting fundamentalist. Indications are that he loves his family almost to distraction. Nurses reported that he cried for two days after his arrest. Surely some of those tears were for Tamerlan.

How about that cold “collateral damage” comment? Dzhokhar wanted to switch his major to nursing, and talked about the joy of saving lives as a lifeguard. Even if guilty, I think he would have said something more like: “It is very painful for me to harm innocent people, but I felt I had no other choice.”

I can imagine him writing the prayer, and the F-word, but the rest of it, as many others have said, just does not sound like him. Either he’s a multiple personality … or whoever really wrote the note had some generic terrorist in mind, and knew nothing about Dzhokhar.



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