Boston Bombing Suspect’s Body Rejected by CemeteriesChristopher Condon and Tom Moroney
Suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, rejected by cemeteries, may wind up in his native Russia even if relatives can’t pay for shipping.
William Breault, a retired maintenance worker in Worcester, Massachusetts, said yesterday he opened a bank account with $500 as a fund to pay for sending the body away. Tsarnaev’s corpse arrived last week at a funeral parlor near Breault’s home.
“I haven’t slept well since then,” Breault said.
Peter Stefan, the owner of the Graham Putnam & Mahoney funeral home, which has the body, said he hasn’t been able to find a nearby cemetery willing to inter Tsarnaev.
“Why should we accept him here?” said Breault.
The April 15 bombing killed three and injured more than 260, the highest-profile terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Prosecutors have said Tsarnaev and his younger brother, ethnic Chechens who came to the U.S. as refugees a decade ago, perpetrated the attack.
Breault, 67, said he asked U.S. Representative James P. McGovern, a Democrat whose district includes Worcester, to appeal to Secretary of State John Kerry to arrange shipping the body to Dagestan, the republic in southern Russia where Tsarnaev’s parents live.
“We’re unaware of any efforts to coordinate sending his remains to Russia,” Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, said yesterday in a news briefing. “These things are usually settled by the family.”
Ventrell didn’t respond to a later request for comment on whether Kerry is trying to help with the disposition of the body or the fund Breault set up.
The slain suspect’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, told Stefan on May 5 that she wants the body sent to Russia, according to the Boston Globe. The newspaper said Stefan tried to contact State Department and Russian officials about shipping the corpse there, without reaching anyone in authority.
Stefan’s business has been the scene of protests since taking Tsarnaev’s remains. Breault, who lives a 20-minute walk away, said about 100 people were there yesterday.
“They’re yelling and waving flags and shouting U-S-A, U-S-A,” Breault said.
Sergeant Kerry Hazelhurst, a spokesman for the Worcester Police Department, said Chief Gary J. Gemme met with Stefan today and spoke at length.
“They are confident there will be a conclusion to settle this matter in the next few days,” Hazelhurst said in a briefing outside the funeral home.
Across the street, protesters hung American flags from a mesh fence and left signs reading “Honk for send him back to Russia” and “You burn us, we will burn you. Burn in hell.”
U.S. Representative Ed Markey, a Democrat running for Kerry’s vacated U.S. Senate seat in a June 25 special election, and Republican challenger Gabriel Gomez, a political newcomer, both said Tsarnaev shouldn’t be buried in the state.
Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, said the suspect’s body should be dealt with in the same manner as Osama bin Laden’s. The instigator of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. was buried at sea after he was killed in a May 2011 special forces raid in Pakistan.
Tsarnaev, 26, died early April 19 after a shootout with police in Watertown, just west of Boston. He was shot in the gunfight before being run over by a vehicle driven by his younger brother and accused bombing accomplice, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, according to police and medical reports.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured that day and is being held in a U.S. prison hospital outside Boston, where he is recovering from gunshot wounds. He has been charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and may face the death penalty if convicted.
The brothers detonated homemade explosives -- pressure cookers packed with black powder, nails, bolts and BBs -- near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, prosecutors have said. Many of those who lived through the attack lost limbs.
A May 30 concert to benefit victims at Boston’s TD Garden arena sold out within minutes yesterday, according to Tricia McCorkle, spokeswoman for the venue. The show will feature performances by Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett and New Kids on the Block. Proceeds will go to the One Fund Boston Inc., which has raised more than $29 million to be given to victims.