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Mass. state trooper who released Boston Marathon bombing suspect photos is back on patrol

The Massachusetts state trooper who leaked arrest photos of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is back on patrol.

Sgt. Sean Murphy, who previously had been stationed at department headquarters in Framingham, is now assigned to the Athol barracks in north-central Massachusetts, state police spokesman David Procopio said Thursday.

The assignment that started last week is not punishment for the unauthorized release of 14 photos, some of which showed a battered and bloodied Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper's rifle scope in the middle of his forehead, Procopio said. "That investigation is still underway," he said.

Murphy, a well-respected 25-year veteran who took crime-scene pictures as part of his official duties, leaked the photos to Boston magazine last month in response to what some people perceived as an inappropriately glamorous shot of Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Murphy said in a statement to Boston magazine that the Rolling Stone cover photo, which Tsarnaev had posted online, was an insult and he wanted to show "the real Boston bomber."

Murphy served a short suspension and was placed on desk duty last month. He is no longer confined to desk duty, Procopio said.

Col. Timothy Alben, the state police commander, has said Murphy has an exemplary record and is unlikely to be fired.

Troopers assigned to the Athol barracks are responsible for patrolling the largely rural towns in the area as well as Route 2, the main east-west artery in the region.

Murphy's lawyer did not return a message Thursday.

Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the April 15 bombing that killed three and injured or maimed 260.

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