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Prosecution describes slaying of MIT officer Sean Collier

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier

AP/File

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier

A federal prosecutor revealed new details of the murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier during opening statements Wednesday at the trial in US District Court in Boston of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

Stephen Silva, a friend of Tsarnaev’s, provided him with the 9mm Ruger pistol that was used to kill Collier, said Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb. Silva, who had gone to high school in Cambridge with Tsarnaev, will testify at the trial that he gave the gun to him, Weinreb said.

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Weinreb said the brothers attempted to steal Collier’s gun but were unable to remove it. Investigators later found that one of the two locks on Collier’s blood-soaked gun holster was unfastened. Weinreb said that the Tsarnaevs, whose pictures had been released to the media earlier that day, were trying to obtain a second gun.

Weinreb also said Collier, who was sitting in his police cruiser, was shot twice in the side of the head, once between the eyes, and once in the hand.

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An MIT grad student riding by on a bike saw the two men standing by the police cruiser. Another person heard six shots fired, the prosecutor said

Surveillance video showed the brothers walk around the corner to the cruiser and open the door. But it wasn’t clear from the video which brother fired the Ruger, the prosecutor said.

Weinreb said investigators also found bloody gloves in Tsarnaev’s Honda Civic that had DNA matching Collier’s.

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Tsarnaev, 21, faces 30 charges in US District Court in Boston, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty, for his alleged role in the detonation of two bombs near the Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

His brother was his accomplice, prosecutors have said. The two also allegedly murdered Collier together on the night of April 18, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed early on April 19 in a confrontation with police in Watertown. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found later that day, hiding in a boat stored in a back yard in Watertown.

Defense attorney Judy Clarke, in her opening statement Wednesday, acknowledged that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had participated in the bombing, but emphasized that he was under the sway of his older brother.

She also said that the shooter in Collier’s case had been Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not his younger brother.

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