Reports: Dzhokhar Left Note Inside Watertown Boat

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 16 2013 9:34 AM

Dzhokhar Said to Have Scribbled Confession on Wall While Hiding in Watertown Boat

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is seen on security footage taken at a 7-Eleven the night the manhunt began
Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

CBS News' John Miller brings us the latest news on the investigation in Boston, where unnamed law enforcement sources now say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a note claiming responsibility for the marathon bombings before he was ultimately found by police last month. The 19-year-old reportedly left the confession on one of the walls of the boat where he took refuge after being wounded in a gunfight with police hours earlier:

The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," the note added.
Dzhokar said he didn't mourn older brother Tamerlan, the other suspect in the bombings, writing that by that point, Tamerlan was a martyr in paradise—and that he expected to join him there.

CNN's Susan Candiotti has already confirmed many of the details of the CBS report, although her sources provided only the broad brush strokes and did not offerer the short "Muslims" pull-quote.

Assuming the reports are accurate, the handwritten note lines up with the story Tsarnaev allegedly told authorities during preliminary interviews after he was taken into custody. Unlike that alleged confession—which came before the suspect was read his Miranda rights—the note would likely be admissible in court, something that would add an important piece to the federal case against Tsarnaev.

The existence of the confession may have made federal authorities feel more comfortable in making their decision to interrogate Tsarnaev under the "public safety" exception in the days after he was arrested. Although, simply because they were more confident in their ability to convict, that doesn't mean they were necessarily right in doing so. (Even without the note, the feds appeared to have a bounty of evidence linking Tsarnaev and his brother to the attack.)

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter, and read more on Slate about the Boston Marathon bombing.***

This post was updated at 9:50 a.m. with additional analysis, and for clarity.


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