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Massachusetts cop who released photos of accused bomber retires

By Daniel Lovering

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts policeman who released photos of the arrest of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in response to a cover on Rolling Stone magazine that he said glamorized the suspect has retired after being disciplined for his actions.

Sergeant Sean Murphy, a police photographer, retired on Friday, David Procopio, a state police spokesman, wrote in an e-mail message on Wednesday.

Charges against Murphy of unauthorized dissemination of information were upheld on October 28 and disciplinary action was taken, but Procopio said Murphy's retirement was unrelated to the discipline.

"It was separate, and was a decision made by Sergeant Murphy of his own volition," he wrote. Procopio declined to provide details on the discipline.

Murphy could not be reached for immediate comment.

In July, Murphy released photos that he took during the manhunt for Tsarnaev to Boston Magazine.

The photos showed the surrender of Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a boat in a backyard outside Boston after a day-long manhunt, and included one showing a bruised Tsarnaev emerging from the boat with the red dot from a sniper rifle's laser sight on his forehead.

Murphy said he released the photos in response to a Rolling Stone magazine cover that showed a younger Tsarnaev with the headline, "The bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

State police placed Murphy on administrative leave, stripping him of his badge and gun, and transferred him to a different unit following a disciplinary hearing. At the time, police said he was unlikely to lose his job.

Massachusetts officials including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino expressed outrage at the Rolling Stone cover, which they said appeared to glorify the bomber, largely because the magazine is known for featuring music legends on its front page.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of killing three people and injuring more than 260 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the marathon on April 15.

After three days in hiding, Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, attempted to flee the city after the FBI released photos of them near the scene of the bombing.

Prosecutors said the brothers killed a university police officer whose gun they attempted to steal before engaging in a gun battle with police in the suburb of Watertown. The standoff ended when the younger Tsarnaev drove over his brother in a car, contributing to his death, and briefly escaped police.

Tsarnaev faces the possibility of execution if convicted on charges related to one of the worst attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

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