Tamerlan Tsarnaev's funeral director: "This is what we do. I'm burying somebody who has died"

The Boston bombing suspect is laid to rest, largely thanks to the courage of a Worcester funeral director

By David Daley
Published May 9, 2013 7:11PM (UTC)
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Tamerlan Tsarnaev (AP/The Lowell Sun/Julia Malakie)

Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was quietly buried early at an unknown location, ending days of protests outside the Worcester, Mass., funeral home that bravely agreed to oversee his burial.

"A courageous and compassionate person came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased," Worcester police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst told a local Fox affiliate, adding that the body was buried outside of the city of Worcester.


That this happened at all is thanks to the courage of Peter Stefan of the Graham Putnam & ­Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, where the body had been for the last six days. And in a remarkable Boston Globe profile this morning of this brave funeral director, he speaks matter-of-factly about why he was willing to do something that no one else seemed willing to do.

“This is what we do,’’ Stefan said. “We can’t separate the sins from the sinner. I’m burying somebody who is dead. Everybody who is dead has the right to be buried.”

The scene outside the funeral home has been difficult and the phone has been ringing off the hook, the Globe reports. As the story continues:


At least four cemeteries and the cities of Cambridge and Boston have told Stefan that they will not accept the body, and as he fields call after call asking why he is helping to bury a terrorist, protesters have staked out the sidewalk across the street, waving signs and ­declaring him a disgrace to the community.

“They don’t have nothing to say,” Stefan said, pointing to a dozen or so protesters.

For two days, Tsarnaev’s body lay two floors below ­Stefan’s office, in the funeral home’s cooler. On Sunday afternoon, it was moved to the first floor to be washed by Ruslan Tsarni, Tsarnaev’s uncle, who is overseeing the burial.

After washing the battered body of his nephew, Tsarni climbed the staircase to thank and hug Stefan.

“It’s nothing,” he said. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

David Daley

David Daley is the author of "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy" and a senior fellow at FairVote.

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Boston Bombing Tamerlan Tsarnaev Tsarnaev Buried Tsarnaev Funeral