Professor Tanya Marsh quoted in New York Times regarding interment of Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s body
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New York Times
May 10, 2013
BOSTON — The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing who died after a shootout with the police last month, has been interred in an undisclosed location, the Worcester Police Department said in a statement on Thursday morning.
“A courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased,” read a statement published on the department’s Web site and read on Thursday morning in front of the funeral home that handled Mr. Tsarnaev’s body.
An official at the Worcester funeral home that stored Mr. Tsarnaev’s body for most of the past week said the body was moved late Wednesday night and had been interred outside Massachusetts.
The move ends a saga that began when Mr. Tsarnaev, 26, was shot by the police and run over by a car driven by his brother, Dzhokhar, 19, after the two attempted to elude the authorities during a police chase that began on April 18. Mr. Tsarnaev’s body was claimed by an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, and mistakenly taken to a funeral home in North Attleborough, Mass., before being transported to Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, in Worcester.
The funeral director at Graham Putnam, Peter A. Stefan, struggled for six days to find a place to inter Mr. Tsarnaev after cemeteries near and far refused to accept the body. The police set up a detail while a handful of protesters admonished the funeral home for accepting the body.
“This is what we do, this is the right thing to do,” Mr. Stefan, who was unbowed by the criticism, said earlier this week. “We’re burying a dead body.”
The body presented something of a legal quandary, as the interment of a terrorism suspect is rare on American soil and unprecedented for Massachusetts. Mr. Stefan considered sending the body to Russia, as Mr. Tsarnaev’s mother had requested, but he could not ensure that the authorities there would accept it.
At one point, Mr. Stefan also weighed burial in the municipal cemetery in Cambridge, where Mr. Tsarnaev had lived — an option that his uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, suggested earlier this week. But the city’s manager, Robert Healy, swiftly urged the family not to make such a request.
“This has never happened before — that a town has just refused to have a person to be buried there,” said Tanya Marsh, an assistant professor of law at the Wake Forest University School of Law. “It’s an interesting mess.”
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