Sunday, May 31, 2015

Denise Richard and the woman with the sunglasses

Government Exhibit 1634b to be made public


Bill Hoenk

Stephen Woolfenden is one of the most severely hit survivors of the second Marathon bomb blast. He was the last prosecution witness to deliver a victim impact statement. He testified that, while lying on the sidewalk with heavy injuries himself, he saw Denise Richard crouching over her dying son Martin:
“I heard ‘please’ and ‘Martin’ being uttered by Denise Richard,” said Woolfenden, who was lying on the pavement next to Martin and his mother after the second bomb exploded. “Just pleading with her son.” Salem News

At last exhibit 1634b, a clip of the Forum video, was shown to illustrate his testimony. Woolfenden was asked to identify Denise and Martin Richard in the clip, which he did. After that, the prosecution rested its case. The clip has not been published yet, but jury, judge, lawyers and all courtroom attendees had an occasion to watch it. Here are some quotes:

1634b is Forum video shows Denise rocking back and forth over Martin, dying on the sidewalk. WCVB News

The prosecution rested its case in federal court during the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial after playing a video showing the mother of 8-year-old Martin Richard crouched over him and resting her head on his chest as he lay dying. Salem News
“Martin, please,” Denise pleaded, over and over. Forum’s video showed Martin’s arms raise up and flop back down. Woolfenden didn’t hear a response. Boston Magazine
No journalist bothered to report the exact location where Denise and Martin Richard have been at this moment. But it is possible to conclude it from the context of the messages and two stills from the video, government exhibits 21-43 and 21-44. They were taken about four minutes after the blast, which roughly matches the time when Woolfenden spotted the couple. Within the yellow circles, a woman with long dark hair who could be Denise Richard is seen on the sidewalk behind the Forum fence.

Exhibit 21-44

Exhibit 21-43

Her appearance and location match the "woman with the sunglasses" in the title picture. She's caring for a boy who might be Martin Richard, as I have argued here. He is not recognizable however because he is covered by the chairs and tables on the patio. There is no other person identifiable as Denise Richard in these video stills. But the title picture depicts the back of another woman with dark long hair who also theoretically might be Mrs. Richard - in the highlighted rectangle.

This woman is also visible in the next photograph (Kenshin Okubo), kneeing on the sidewalk beside the upright metal barrier:

The woman at the barrier is a few feet further away from the Forum camera than the sunglasses woman and being covered by several people in between. As opposed to the boy who is sitting upright with his back to the patio fence, the unseen person being cared for by the woman at the barrier is lying flatly on the ground. It is impossible that the camera caught her resting her head on his chest as he lay dying, as one of the above quotes says. To put her head on his chest, she would have had to go down with her head so deep that the camera's view on her would have been blocked by other people with absolute certainty.

So there is a high probability that the woman in the Forum video who Stephen Woolfenden identified as Denise Richard was the sunglasses woman, and the remaining doubts will certainly be eliminated when the public gets access to exhibit 1634b at one time.

As I have pointed out in my last blog entry, there's one big problem with this narrative: the sunglasses woman is certainly not Denise Richard. The hair is similar, but her physiognomy is different. She wears sunglasses, not a brown cap as Denise Richard did. There's not the least sign on any of the available video and photographic footage that her right eye was hit by shrapnel. There is neither any blood in her face nor does her demeanor in any way indicate that she's so badly injured. She is in a condition to give help, not to need help.

Denise Richard had no opportunity to clarify this question because the prosecution didn't call her on the stand. This circumstance was used by the defense in a motion to strike the impact of Martin Richard as aggravating factor. Futile, of course.

And Bill Hoenk should be regarded as a whistleblower in the tradition of Sgt. Sean Murphy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First after-blast footage of Martin Richard discovered?

Please read also the follow up article: Denise Richard and the woman with the sunglasses

This picture is a still from the Daniel Robert video, taken at 0:25. For the fraction of a second, the head of some person with short, dark hair, apparently a young boy, gets visible in the background right of the policeman. Despite the blurriness it is recognizable that his face is not blood-stained, and he doesn't seem to scream. He might be without consciousness. He sits on the sidewalk directly at the corner of the Forum's little fence in front of the main entrance.

He is not Aaron Hern who was treated at another place, between the tree and the road sign. He is also not David Yepez for the same reasons. He is not Leo Woolfenden who looks different and was not at the crime scene when the photo was taken. From his look, it might be Martin Richard. Is it Martin Richard?

Between 0:07 and 0:27 the video camera doesn't change position and direction. During this time, the back of a woman with long smooth dark hair, a black jacket and blue jeans is seen cowering in front of the boy and almost always covering him - with the exception of the said half-second. Sometimes she turns right and her profile gets visible. This snapshot at 0:15 shows her head in the yellow circle.

The white dot on top of her hair is a reflection from the sunglasses she wears over her head, that's why I'll call her the sunglasses woman from now on. She appears on numerous other photos too, if only with her back mostly. This newly published photo (Bill Hoenk) is the only one that shows her from the front:

She cowers on the sidewalk on the right side of the photo. Her sunglasses are distinctly identifiable. She seems to spread a towel over the lower body of someone. This must be the boy from the above still. And indeed, his body size indicates that he's not an adult. Is this couple Denise and Martin Richard?

It is tempting to assume that the woman is Denise Richard - there is a certain resemblance, the hair is similar, she cares for a boy, and she wears her sunglasses over the head just like Denise Richard in the first published photo of the Richard family:

However, the sunglasses woman is definitely not Denise Richard who wore no sunglasses on Marathon day, but a striking brown cap. Here's an exhibit from the trial:

Opposed to that, our woman wears sunglasses, but no brown cap. Moreover, Denise Richard was heavily injured in her right eye by shrapnel, loosing the sight there. The face of the sunglasses woman is without any blood stain, and there is not the slightest hint in her demeanor that she's injured or hurt, neither in the face nor elsewhere. She is in a condition to care for others instead of looking like someone who is to be cared for.

If the sunglasses woman is not Denise Richard, what does that say for the identity of the boy? The still from the Daniel Robert video is, as mentioned, the first picture of someone who might be Martin Richard, thus breaking the eerie lack of footage: he and Lingzi Lu are the most prominent victims of the second bomb blast, but at the same time they are the only victims who are not depicted on any post-blast video or photo footage. This might have changed with the release of the new Bill Hoenk photos.

Be it Martin Richard or not, one thing is for sure: this boy was not at this place when the bomb exploded. He must have been moved there from somewhere else. Post-blast footage shows that another person was sitting at the fence at first - presumably Danling Zhou - and afterwards the spot is empty for a while. Then the sunglasses woman and her protégé occupy it for several minutes, at least since 2:40 minutes after the blast. On this photo from the sidewalk in front of Starbucks Coffee (Dana Rouleau), taken maybe 6 or 7 minutes after the blast, she is still at the same place - her face is visible:

If the boy is Martin Richard, the question arises why the sunglasses woman is with him the whole time and not his mother, as it always has been reported. If he's not Martin Richard, who is it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Bill Hoenk photos of second bomb site published

Bill Hoenk is a non-professional photographer and was an eyewitness of the second bomb blast. He has shot some iconic photos of the immediate aftermath, and one of them gained outstanding prominence on the cover of the Time Magazine. I have introduced some of his pictures already in a former blog post.

On May 16th, 2015,  CBS News aired a portrait of Hoenk, which was an opportunity for him to publish six previously unseen photos. It remains to be seen if the timing - one day after the death verdict against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - was pure coincidence, or if it was part of a strategy by whoever.

Here are the screenshots of the six pictures. I added the presumable time or time span (if not noted otherwise, with +-1 sec uncertainty), the reference that was used to determine the time, and the position from which he took the photos.



Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo 

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish





Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish




0:24 +- 2 sec 

Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish




1:30 +- 5 sec

Reference: David Green video

Position: across the street, corner Boylston/Ring




presumably 1:50 - 2:20

Reference: Kenshin Okubo photo (see below),  David Green video

Position: sidewalk in front of Atlantic Fish

The moment of this photo is difficult to determine. It was definitely shot after 1:30 because at this moment Hoenk changed his position from Boylston/Ring Road to the sidewalk of Atlantic Fish. You can see him crossing the street near the end of the David Green video.

The next photo was shot by Okubo at 2:26.

At the same moment, Hoenk pictured the scene from across the street, with officer Thomas Barrett carrying away Leo Woolfenden. So he has repositioned himself again at the other side of Boylston Street. But the depicted persons are similar to those on his photo, which indicates that he shot this photo only seconds before. Also, on his photo the sidewalk is not fully occupied by people, which indicates that it was taken in an early stage of the first response. Therefore 1:30 - 2:20.


3:40  +- 5 sec   

Reference: Daniel Robert video

Position:  across the street, corner Boylston/Ring



 Special thanks to wiseowl of  for unearthing the portrait.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The magic bomb of the Boston Marathon

The term magic bullet has gained iconic status within the context of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is meant to describe the physical impossibility that one single bullet permeated both the bodies of Kennedy and Governor John Connally sitting in front of him, as it has been claimed by the Warren Commission and advocates of the official version of the JFK murder for decades.

The official version of the second bomb at Boston Marathon comes up with physical impossibilites that make the JFK magic bullet look like a trick for rookies. It doesn't need an explosive expert to recognize this. There are only two simple rules to understand:

1  In general - and the pressure cookers of Boston are no exception - a bomb emits a radially unfolding pressure wave. This means that everything that is hit by the pressure wave is blown away straight into the same direction. It is not possible that it is blown away in a skew angle, as it happens when a billiard ball hits another one off-center.

2  The force of the pressure wave diminishes continuously the more it expands. This means that if two items are located in the same direction in relation to the bomb, the nearer item is hit stronger and subsequently blown away a bigger distance than the one further afar.

During the Tsarnaev trial the "official" epicenter has finally been determined with the help of the official Forum video: it was beside the tree, one or two feet away in direction Atlantic Fish. The video provides us also with the locations of the victims immediately before the blast (the above still is taken 1/10 seconds before). Unfortunately, it stops right after the explosion, so the locations of the victims after the blast have to be determined by other means, for example publicly available footage or witness statements.

The diagram demonstrates the magic character of the bomb. It sketches its impact on three persons A, B, and C. They belong to the hardest-hit victims of the Boston Marathon bombing (it is not necessary to expose their identity here). The green circles represent their respective locations before the blast, the hollow circles after the blast. The continuous arrows represent the pressure wave hitting the victims, the dashed arrows show how they were displaced by it.

The diagram illustrates a number of physical miracles.

The first three miracles are that all of them were blown away in a skew angle. This is - approximately - for A 100 degrees, for B 90 degrees and for C 135 degrees, far away from the 180 degrees which one would expect for an ordinary bomb.

Another miracle is that B and C were blown off only a little distance, despite standing directly by the bomb.

The last - and biggest - miracle is that A was 12 feet away from the bomb, but blown away a whopping 15 feet - in a skew angle! This is all the more stunning as A was protected by some people in between (who are not depicted in the diagram).

This miracle cluster easily tops the JFK magic bullet, it is therefore justified to name the Forum bomb a magic bomb. "Magic" is of course just an euphemism for "impossible". Obviously either the assumed pre-blast locations must be wrong, or the post-blast locations.

There is ample photographic and video footage serving as source for the post-blast locations of B and C. The source for the post-blast location of A is her own testimony at court.

The only source for the pre-blast locations of A, B and C is the official Forum video, i.e. the above still. Lacking any verifying footage, this doesn't make the Forum video look good and throws its authenticity into doubt. The hints are mounting that the Forum video - which is the primary evidence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's bag being the second bomb after all - is manipulated.