(UPDATE) Burying Tamerlan: Protesters call for deportation of Boston bomber’s body

Police stand outside the Graham, Putnam & Mahoney funeral home in Worcester where the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is currently being held.  PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Police stand outside the Graham, Putnam & Mahoney funeral home in Worcester where the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is currently being held.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since accused Boston Marathon bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was gunned down by police and run over by his alleged partner in crime — his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now, a Massachusetts funeral home is facing the tricky task of burying the most hated man in America.

Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors is handling Tsarnaev’s burial, described the responsibility as “a nightmare” because he can’t find a cemetery willing to accept the body. Stefan told The Herald, “We have a body for burial that has caused a lot of controversy and we can’t continue to play this game. … Under normal circumstances, the government would say it’s (the funeral parlor’s) responsibility to find a place for burial, but this is not normal circumstances.”

Protesters outside the funeral home are reportedly calling for Tsarnaev’s body to be removed from the country. The demand coincides with unconfirmed reports that the bombing suspect’s body may be laid to rest in the very city he allegedly attacked — Boston. Stefan told the Associated Press Sunday that he plans to ask the city of Cambridge to provide a burial plot, and if he is turned down, will ask the state for help.

Cambridge City Manager Robert Healy said in a statement Sunday there has been no formal application for a burial permit or purchase of a cemetery plot. He said he is urging Tsarnaev’s family and the funeral director who has the body not to request a burial permit for the city-owned Cambridge Cemetery. Healy says it would not be in the best interest of the city to execute a deed for a plot at Cambridge Cemetery, telling the Associated Press: “The difficult and stressful efforts of the citizens of the City of Cambridge to return to a peaceful life would be adversely impacted by the turmoil, protests and widespread media presence at such an interment.”

Stefan said he has faced criticism for assisting with the burial, with some people calling him “un-American.”

Since her husband was killed last month, 24-year-old Katerine Russell Tsarnaev has been laying low at her parents home in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. She has maintained her innocence. In an effort to distance herself from Tsarnaev, whom she married in June, 2010 at a mosque in Dorchester, Russell refused her right to claim Tsarnaev’s body from the Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s office. Other relatives have claimed the remains, and are working with Stefan to arrange a funeral.

Tsarnaev’s death was ruled a homicide last week after an autopsy allegedly discovered he died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to the head and torso.

Dzhokhar drove over Tamerlan while trying to escape as police shot at the pair.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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