Trooper who leaked Boston bomber pictures retires with 'no regrets'

Officer who leaked Boston photos retires
Officer who leaked Boston photos retires

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Officer who leaked Boston photos retires 05:19

Story highlights

  • Sgt. Sean Murphy says he doesn't regret leaking photos of a Boston bombing suspect
  • Photos, not controversial Rolling Stone cover, revealed "the true image of terror," he says
  • Murphy, a 25-year police veteran, says he doesn't know what his next move is

Massachusetts State Police photographer Sean Murphy, who leaked pictures of bloody Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has retired, saying Thursday on CNN's "New Day" that he has no regrets.

"The way I see it, Chris," the retired sergeant said to CNN's Chris Cuomo, "there's no way I couldn't do it."

Murphy's retirement comes after a brief suspension, a transfer to a remote overnight patrol job and a negotiated settlement in which he gave up five days of vacation pay, he said Thursday.

The 25-year police veteran leaked photos of the surviving bombing suspect emerging from the boat where he had been hiding from a massive manhunt after the marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured at least 264.

He was one of countless Boston-area residents stunned and angry about a Rolling Stone cover photo of Tsarnaev, taken from one of Tsarnaev's social media accounts, that Murphy and others thought depicted the suspect in a glamorous light.

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The image shows Tsarnaev with long, curly hair, a mustache and goatee, gazing into the camera.

In contrast with the Rolling Stone photo, which some said looked like a picture of a young rock star, Murphy said his photographs showed "the true image of terror."

In the images, which he leaked to Boston magazine, Tsarnaev is shown dazed and bloody, a police sharpshooter's laser sight trained on his forehead.

"That was the reality," Murphy said. "The image of that guy in the boat was the true image of terror, not the one that was fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone."

He and his attorney, Lenny Kasten, rejected claims that the leak could have harmed the legal case against Tsarnaev, who faces two federal charges in connection with the bombings.

Murphy was not acting as a crime scene photographer, and his photographs were never part of the criminal case, they said.

"Sgt. Murphy would never have done anything to jeopardize that case," Kasten said.

In July, Murphy, 48, was suspended with pay for one day for the leak. A month later, he was transferred from his job as a tactical photographer at state police headquarters to a rural patrol job working the overnight shift.

At the time, state police officials said the transfer was not a demotion or a punishment. Thursday, Murphy said he doesn't hold anything against the department.

"They had to do something," he said. "I have nothing but high respect for the Massachusetts State Police and the men and women I've worked with for 25 years," he said.

Murphy said Thursday he doesn't know what he'll do next.