BOSTON — If your vision of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev involves a beaten, bloodied fugitive cowering in a boat while the red dots of laser sights pinpoint his forehead, you can thank retired state police Sgt. Sean Murphy.
Lisa Beloff, of Marblehead by way of Salem, was one of those who wanted to thank Murphy, who jeopardized his job this summer by releasing photos he’d taken at Tsarnaev’s dramatic capture in Watertown in April. Beloff, like Murphy, viewed the photo release as an antidote to Rolling Stone magazine’s glamorized cover image of the man accused of killing two women, a man and an 8-year-old boy.
So,she started a Facebook page, “Save Sgt. Sean Murphy.” Her efforts drew nearly 70,000 people to her site, almost all offering praise for the trooper.
“What she did really made a difference,” Murphy said.
Murphy and Beloff had never met — until yesterday, that is, when they were united before television cameras in the office of his lawyer, Lenny Kestens. This took place on Boylston Street in Boston, a site literally overlooking the marathon finish line, the location of the bombing.
“Thank you,” said Murphy as the pair embraced on first sight. “What you did for me was amazing. I can’t thank you enough.”
“So many people want to thank you,” Beloff replied.
Her interest in the case, she said, stemmed partly from the fact that her late grandfather, Paul Beloff, was also a state police sergeant. She had never been involved in anything like this before, she said. Thinking the site would mainly be of interest to friends and family members, she made the effort so that “At least I could put my head on the pillow at night and know I tried.”
But the site took off as people signed on from as far away as New Zealand.