As Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body awaits burial at Worcester funeral home, some protest
The owner of the Worcester funeral home where Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s is being kept said today that he intends to find a plot to bury the body by the end of Monday.
“This ends Monday,” said Peter Stefan, Graham Putnum & Mahoney Funeral Parlor. “He will find a cemetery by the end of the day Monday.”
While, as of Saturday afternoon, no cemetery had been found that will take the body, Stefan said he is confident that he will locate a burial plot in Boston, eventually.
Some protestors, on both Friday and Saturday, have said Tsnaraev’s body does not deserve traditional Muslim burial proceedings and that his body should be burned or buried at sea -- as was done to Osama Bin Laden’s body after he was killed in a raid by US Navy Seals.
Stefan has said that the body will be washed according to Islamic customs following the completion of a second autopsy this weekend. The Tsarnaev family has requested a second opinion, and has expressed doubt about the official Boston police account that Tamerlan was killed after a gunfight with police April 20 when his brother, Dzhokhar, ran over him in a vehicle hed had carjacked.
The two are suspected of planting the bombs that killed three and injured more than 260 at the finish line of the marathon April 15. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being held in a federal detention center in Fort Devens.
Stefan said that, as of 2 pm he had not yet heard from Tsnaraev family attorneys about when a private medical examiner would arrive to conduct a second autopsy, but added that he still expects that examination to be completed today.
Stefan has said there are two cemeteries in Boston that have sections specifically designated for Muslims and both have said they do not want the body. He plans to call and ask both of them again Monday morning.
“The attitude has been ‘we don’t want to do it’ when I talk to them,” Stefan said. “But when push comes to shove, I want a straight out denial from them if they’re going to refuse -- a flat out ‘no’.”
He said he plans to file a completed death certificate and burial permit with the City of Boston on Tuesday.
Carrying American flags, several protestors returned to Main St in Worcester to picket the funeral home.
“It’s going to give this neighborhood a bad name,” said Ronald Wahlers, a retired firefighter who has lived in Worcester for a year and a half. “This guy doesn’t belong here.”
Stefan, who has owned the parlor for 35 years, has been the target of many of the protestors.
“What gives him the right to say yes and bring the body here?” said Patricia Hildreth, of Rindge, N.H., who carried a sign declaring “Shame on you, Mr. Stefan!” as she protested outside of the funeral parlor.
“To him, this is just a body. To us, this is someone who came here to kill Americans,” she added.
“I had to come here and show support for the victims,” said Hildreth, who made the hourlong drive to join the protest Saturday morning. “This is not right.”
Hildreth said she and her two sisters saw the Friday night protests on the news and decided to join the crowd Saturday.
As she spoke, passing drivers honked their horns and shouted support through their windrows.
“Just burn him and throw him in the sewer,” said a college-aged man in a black tanktop as he walked past the small protest.
“He just doesn’t belong here,” said Darlene Olsen, of Leicester Mass., whose sign said “Bury the Garbage in the Landfill.”
“Send him back to wherever he came from.” she said.
Kheda Saratova, a human rights activist in Russia who has been helping the Tsarnaev brothers’ parents, said the family has considered bringing Tamerlan’s body back to Russia if no one in the United States will bury him. However, they would prefer not to, she said.
“According to Muslim custom you must do everything possible to bury the body as soon as possible,” Saratova said by telephone from Russia. She did not disclose the family’s actual location.David Filipov contributed to this report. Wesley Lowery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.