Coakley Hasn’t Followed Through On Promise to Families of Waltham Triple-Murder Victims

The victims’ families are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of information about the investigation into the 2011 slayings.

A couple of weeks ago, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is running for governor, gave a speech at the annual Garden of Peace ceremony, which honors homicide victims and their families. Among the bereaved in the audience were Aria Weissman and Dylan Mess. Aria’s brother, Erik Weissman, and Dylan’s brother, Brendan Mess, were murdered along with their friend Raphael Teken on September 11, 2011, in Waltham. All three were found with their throats slit, marijuana sprinkled over the bodies, and $5,000 in cash still in the room.

The case remains unsolved. But last May, the FBI has claimed, a Chechen national named Ibragim Todashev implicated himself and alleged marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the murders—just before the FBI shot Todashev to death. In recent days, Todashev’s live-in girlfriend has been arrested and threatened with deportation—evidently in retaliation for an interview she gave to me that challenged the FBI’s version of events. Officially, however, there have been no details and no developments in the case. The triple-murder victims’ families have told me that they are increasingly frustrated by the lack of information they are receiving about the investigation.

And so, on September 19, Aria and Dylan invited me to accompany them to the Garden of Peace ceremony, where they planned to ask Coakley about the murders of their brothers. Aria’s brother Erik Weissman was also a friend of mine, and at the time of his death my father was representing him in a drug case. After the ceremony, I went with Aria and Dylan to speak to the attorney general. All of us wanted to ask Coakley why there’s been a lack of progress on the local investigations of the murders—and the FBI shooting of the man who may have been the last living witness to the crime. “We haven’t been getting any answers,” Weissman told Coakley.

Coakley was calm and respectful, and stayed to answer our questions. “I know how frustrating and how difficult it is for you,” Coakley told us. But she was clearly caught off guard. At one point during the conversation, she turned to her chief of staff and referred to the triple slaying as a “shooting.”

“How about a further investigation just on the Waltham triple murder, not so much what happened in Florida but just what’s going on here?” said Mess. Coakley replied that the triple murder was not her investigation­—it was the Middlesex District Attorney’s concern. (Stephanie Guyotte, a spokesperson from the Middlesex DA’s office, declined to comment for this story.)

In the week after our exchange, I asked a number of lawyers whether Coakley’s claim is accurate. Evidently, it is not. Technically, the lawyers tell me, Coakley could choose to get involved in the case if she wished. According to Massachusetts General Law statute 12 section 27, Coakley could take over any investigation handled by a Massachusetts District Attorney. The law states that the attorney general and the district attorney “may interchange official duties” and “the attorney general, when present, shall have the control” of all criminal and civil cases in the Commonwealth.

At the time, however, we took Coakley at her word. She said that she could and would follow up to make sure state police were working with Waltham police on the murder case. “The Waltham PD and the State Police should be working together,” she told us.

But nearly two weeks later, Detective Patrick Hart of the Waltham Police, who has been investigating the triple murder since before the Boston Marathon bombings, says his department has not been contacted by Coakley’s office. “No one here knows,” he said. “I think I would have been told.”

Coakley, in essence, urged Aria and Dylan to be patient. In Florida, prosecutor Jeff Ashton has promised an independent investigation of the Todashev shooting—but the FBI’s internal investigation has to be completed first. “The FBI has to finish its investigation, the Florida DA will do its investigation, just as if that happened up here,” Coakley told us.

Though two Massachusetts state troopers were reportedly present the day Todashev was shot, Coakley insisted that the FBI killing in Florida is out of her jurisdiction. “I’m certainly not trying to hide the FBI,” she told us. “I’m not trying to cover up anything. I wish that I could do more.”

I later spoke to Matt Segal, the legal director for the Massachusetts ACLU, who rejected Coakley’s statement that the Orlando shooting was out of her jurisdiction. “There should be oversight of state troopers even when they are sent across state lines,” he said. Either the FBI has “shut out” Coakley’s office, he said, or Coakley has chosen not to investigate. “We continue to think there are very strong reasons why what happened in Florida should interest officials here,” he added. “We think they should investigate unless they can’t, and if they can’t they ought to tell us that they can’t.”

When we spoke to Coakley after the ceremony, she admitted that she had not been in touch directly with the Florida District Attorney, but that she could be—and that she would be after our conversation. Two weeks later, Coakley’s office had not placed that call. “Mr. Ashton has not had any contact from or with the MA Attorney General,” said Ashton’s Chief Assistant Richard Wallsh in an email.

Coakley’s press secretary Brad Puffer did not return a call seeking comment.

Meanwhile, the victims’ family and friends are still waiting for answers. About a week after we went to see Coakley, Aria Weissman told me that Welford had called to say that a victims advocate from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office would be in touch with her. One week later, that call hasn’t come. “It’s not very comforting,” said Weissman.

  • Paula Shapiro

    Wow, didn’t know all the details before. There has to be some accountability for all of this, so sad – keep writing! Squeaky wheel gets the oil!

  • public_servant_watch

    Martha Coakley appears to be in collusion with a corrupt FBI and DOJ. She has jurisdiction over crimes committed by the citizens of Massachusetts and her state police were in Florida when the murder of Ibragim Todashev took place. The false allegations that he was involved in the triple murder despite the fact that he had an alibi and was in Georgia at the time of the murder should have triggered Coakley into action. Interestingly Todashev’s wife claimed she could prove that he was in Georgia with her at the time of the murder because they had bank transactions they could prove and then she received a notice from the bank. See pic.

    Coakley has jurisdiction over these federal employees who commit crimes in her state and the murder of Todashev should have been investigated as a cover-up and silencing of someone who could expose crime by federal, state and private sector citizens who engaged in crime including alleged murder and racketeering during the Boston Marathon aftermath and investigation. Coakley appears to be aiding and abetting these other criminals who enjoy impunity including all those involved in the fraudulent charities that defrauded the American people.

    Coakley has enough alleged crime on her plate by her own State Officials including the Governor to keep her busy for decades; she doesn’t have time or the integrity to be Governor unless the people of Massachusetts want to continue to have criminals in high offices in their state. Terrorizing Americans and following it with a racketeering scheme and cooperation in promoting the LIES by world class hospitals is a crime; she did nothing!!

    At minimum Coakley should be asking the question why did these federal and state law enforcement people need dead people who would have no opportunity to defend themselves to claim that a triple was now solved.

    Further it was the FBI at Blast Site 2 at the time of the Blast and raw video comparison proves FBI agents were present acting as rescue, fake bloodied victims and moulage artist for the propaganda pictures that followed and were used to rip off the American people. It’s all connected and it’s all crimes against the people of Massachusetts and Coakley does nothing but collect her taxpayer provided paycheck!!

    These agents can be seen in the video. Positive ID has not been confirmed but there are too many who look just like the Blast 2 Forum Crowd to not investigate.

    The man clapping the material that dispersed powder

    The woman acting as rescue, the T-shirt man working with her and the agent nervous and keeping watch by the mailbox!

    The man in the video that in a grey sweat shirt is on the far right and next to him is another in the video- refer to the pic that ID’s FBI who looks like video cast!

    Bloodied victim

    T-shirt man working with the woman, again, on the left

    Far right agent looks like the shirtless man in the video

    He is seen here in this photoshopped pic that shows civilians administering CPR to the Chinese National while firemen are standing around; this picture does not represent reality and the shirtless man now sitting and appearing relaxed is working very hard in the raw video which would have been the same time frame.

    These FBI agents are not at the Form solving a crime or investigating a crime scene; they appear to be committing a crime.

    The entire event was a sham and people are dead because of the cover-up. MARTHA COAKLEY DO YOUR DAMN JOB OR EVENTUALLY YOU WILL BE HELD AS COMPLICIT!!