Funeral director criticized for agreeing to bury Boston bomb suspect

May 4, 2013 at 10:33 AM

WORCESTER, Mass., May 4 (UPI) -- A funeral home owner under fire for agreeing to handle the burial of an accused Boston Marathon bomber says he's "not burying a terrorist, I'm burying a body."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body had been in the Boston medical examiner's office for two weeks since he died in an exchange of gunfire with police a few days after the April 15 bombings at the marathon finish line killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His parents in Dagestan refused to have him buried there, although they say they want a second autopsy.

The body remained unclaimed until Thursday when Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, had Peter Stefan's funeral home, Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, in Worcester pick it up, The New York Times reported.

Tsarnaev's body was mistakenly taken to a funeral home in North Attleboro, where protesters lined the streets to boo, CNN reported.

When the remains finally arrived at Stefan's funeral parlor, onlookers gathered outside and Worcester City Council member Sarai Rivera visited Stefan to ask "how did Worcester have to get involved in this?"

Stefan says he has handled funeral arrangements for "people that murder their kids, people that murder their parents," but several cemeteries have refused to have Tsarnaev buried on their grounds.

If the rejections continue, Stefan said he would seek help from the FBI or the state.

"I'm not burying a terrorist, I'm burying a dead body," he said.

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