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Job of Mass. trooper who leaked Boston images safe — for now

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The Massachusetts State Police photographer who leaked arrest photos of the Boston bombing suspect in the wake of a glam cover shot by Rolling Stone has been placed on “desk duty” pending a full investigation of the case, according to Boston media.

The action was decided during a closed hearing before a three-person panel for Sgt. Sean Murphy, a veteran state police officer.

Murphy had provided Boston magazine photos of a wounded and unkempt bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev moments before he was arrested in the backyard of a Watertown, Mass., residence on April 19.

One of the photos shows Tsarnaev with streaks of blood on his face and the red dot of a police sniper's laser sight on his forehead.

He had been huddling in a boat after being injured during a shootout with police hours earlier in which his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed.

Murphy had said in a statement to Boston magazine that the cover shot on Rolling Stone, reminiscent of its treatment of Jim Morrison, was an insult to police, military members and the families of anyone killed in the line of duty.

Murphy wasn't authorized to release the photos, and he's served a one-day, unpaid suspension.

“This guy is evil,” Murphy said. “This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

The Tsarnaev brothers were suspects in the April 15 twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that left three people dead and injured more than 200.

Tsarnaev, who is being held at a prison medical center, is also accused of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while on the run three days later.

The U.S. Attorney's Office called the release of the photos “completely unacceptable,” and some attorneys said the images and Murphy's comments could be used to argue government bias against Tsarnaev.

Murphy was not allowed to talk to reporters after the hearing, but his 19-year-old son, Connor Murphy, said he supported him “100 percent.”

“I couldn't be prouder of him,” he added.

Leonard Kesten, Murphy's lawyer, said the elder Murphy showed a lot of “heart” and “courage,” the Boston Herald reported.

As Murphy was walking into the hearing Tuesday morning, he told reporters “life is good,” according to WBZ-TV.

Murphy will keep his job for now, but will be assigned to a desk duty pending a final ruling in the case.

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