What Happened to Messala – Part I

“Before you give up, think of the reason why you held on so long.”

I read that on Twitter last night. I continue to be amazed by the unexpected wisdom of youth. The “tweeter” looks to be around Jahar’s age. Her name is Taneka Degroff and I thank her for recognizing a quote worth sharing.

Those words spoke to me in a powerful way because, you see, I too am having doubts after Jahar’s “confession” in court the other day.

It’s not that I’m afraid to be wrong; I’ve been wrong before. It’s not that I’m afraid I’ll be laughed at for my position and how long I ended up maintaining it; I’ve been laughed at before. I will be the first to say I was wrong, misguided by my compassion for Jahar – if you show me the evidence.

But so far, no one has.

Common sense says present your best case in the first round. The only time I can see departing from that wisdom would be when the strength of location-based bias makes the walls of the fortress unable to be breached.

In the Boston Marathon bombing trial, the prosecution looked at the walls that Boston bias built and felt safe behind them. They simply knew they didn’t need to present real evidence, thus no real evidence was presented.

The defense, on the other hand, surveyed the walls of bias and determined they were just too high to climb. Having made that decision, they never left the ground.

Apparently, both sides were right. Both sides got the verdict they worked for.

At sentencing, a soft-spoken and, in my opinion, a very brave Jahar said “Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of – if there’s any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother…”

Those words are still sending shock waves through me and anyone else following this case. We are feeling the impact of Judy Clarke’s “It was him” all over again.

Carmen Ortiz was there to express her dissatisfaction immediately after sentencing with a statement of her own: “He didn’t renounce terrorism. He didn’t renounce violent extremism.”

I noticed that too. While Carmen believes that omission to be proof of Jahar’s insincerity, I say


So where does that leave us?

The defendant pleads not guilty at arraignment.
We have trial #1: The guilt phase.
His attorney says “It was him” in opening statements.
No evidence pointing to the defendant is presented.
The defendant does not take the stand in his own defense.
The defendant is found guilty.
We have trial #2: The sentencing phase.
The prosecution tells the jury:
DP verdict: Jahar goes to Federal Death Row in Indiana.
LWOP verdict: Jahar goes to Supermax in Colorado.
Supermax prison in Colorado is the most horrific facility in which to serve out a life sentence.
Jahar would be there under SAMs and in 24 hour a day isolation.
He is just 21 years old.
Prosecution tries to downplay the truth of conditions/life for Jahar in the Colorado Supermax.
Remorse is a mitigator of the death penalty.
Jahar does not take the stand to plead for his life.
Jahar receives the death penalty.
June 24: Formal sentencing; Death penalty cannot be changed.
Jahar can speak but is not required.
Nothing Jahar says will change the outcome.
Jahar confesses to & apologizes for the crime.
Jahar offers no explanation for why crime was committed.
Judge officially sentences Jahar to death.
Jahar is inexplicably sent to Colorado facility anyway – but we are told he is not in the Supermax.

Supporters believe the confession to be a result of government pressure &/or threats designed to get his supporters to be quiet and go away and let Jahar die, alone and forgotten and the truth to die with him.

Have I left anything out?

Published by: iwasleah10years

Winston Churchill said no crime is so great as daring to excel. I am ready to take that dare. An unexpected and somewhat unexplainable compassion for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has drawn me out of my comfort zone.

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9 thoughts on “What Happened to Messala – Part I”

  1. You created a truthful timeline of a trial that had no borders of truth. Honestly the trial disgusted me. You placed the perfection of the lying that was created to keep supporters quiet…not me. I choose not to stay silenced..another powerful story Lynn. Bravo my dear!

  2. Wow another powerful piece, Lynn, that says it all so beautifully and succinctly. This case is far from over. In some ways, it is just beginning. You’ve clearly been given a gift and a calling for this, prayers and blessings on your endeavours. …I just remembered an anecdote from long ago. Can’t remember his name, but a great Chinese Zen master was in the hinterlands of war torn China, in one of its cities on the eve of the Japanese invasion. He had in his charge a small and very frightened 10 year old orphan boy. He took the boy to the local bus station hoping to find a bus out of the city. But when they got to the station, there was a sign on the ticket booth that said, “All buses canceled. There is no way out.” The master looked at the boy and said, “You know, when I look at that sign, it says to me, ‘There IS a way out.” He took the boy by the hand and led him away – and through a perilous three week journey on foot and on the back of donkey carts, fleeing from the Japanese at every turn, he led the boy over the mountains to the sea and to freedom. This is a true story, but unfortunately I can’t remember the master’s name. He eventually came to America and established several Zen centers in California.

      1. You have not yet told me that story but I am so glad you did now! These days I need to hear as many hope & faith-inspiring stories as I can! Thank you for this one! God is STILL saying “I am the God who makes a way when there seems to be no way. Man seals off the windows & doors & puts up walls (and begins by doing so within his own heart) and God comes along and simply opens up the wall! How great is our God and Jesus His Son!

  3. Very truthful Lynn, and very revealing. The same questions that we all had in the beginning are still unanswered.
    Because Dzhokhar confessed and wanted no lingering doubts about it, is still no proof that he is guilty. Many people confess to crimes that they never committed for many reasons. It is proof of nothing. The proof is in the thorough, conclusive evidence which we have not seen yet. We have seen and heard a lot of things, but not who placed the bombs, who detonated them, and who made them. Until that clear evidence is shown there is no reason to believe that Dzhokhar is guilty, but plenty of reason with what we have seen and heard so far to believe that a massive cover up has happened, and that Dzhokhar is innocent. Some day the truth will come out.

    1. Yes it will Julie. I have heard the Lord tell me that in prayer. As painful as this time is now, we must hold on to our hope. What looks & feels hopeless to you and me does not look hopeless to God. He can still part the Red Sea if He decides He needs to and He knows how to help Jahar! In fact, as I just typed those words, reminding myself as well, my own pain over this lifted again!

  4. Your words moved me to tears! It seems you were able to look into my heart and head and know just how to say what I was thinking. Somehow, there needs to be a master list of Jahars supporters’,from all social media sites. A real organization needs to be started with planned action on upcoming appeal. Right now, we have to speak for him. Any thought or ideas

    1. I understand your idea and what motivates it and I am grateful as you and I obviously share the same heart. But a master list would just make it easier for the FBI to keep track of us all. I say, make ’em read all the blogs and social media sites dedicated to Jahar out there! Maybe some of them will actually learn something- like how to define compassion for starters…

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