Tsarnaev's Body Ready for Burial. But Where?

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BOSTON -- As the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, lay in a Worcester, Mass., funeral home for a fourth day, Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday that it was up to the family, not the state, to resolve where the burial would take place.

"First of all, this isn't a state or a federal issue -- it's the family's issue," he told reporters in New Bedford, Mass. "And the family has some options. I assume they will make a decision soon. I hope they do."

Mr. Patrick declined to answer when asked if he would oppose Mr. Tsarnaev's burial in Massachusetts. But Representative Edward J. Markey, the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat that John Kerry vacated when he became secretary of state, said he would oppose such a burial.

"I think that the body should be controlled by the federal government," Mr. Markey said. "But if the people of Massachusetts do not want that terrorist to be buried on our soil, then it should not be."

No cemetery has offered space for Mr. Tsarnaev, who with his younger brother has been accused of planning and carrying out the bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others on April 15. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has been charged with the bombings and is being held in a federal medical detention facility outside Boston.

Federal officials said they had no jurisdiction or interest in getting involved in the burial controversy. An F.B.I. official said that the body was no longer needed in the investigation and that the burial was up to the family and the local authorities.

As the stalemate continued, one of three men facing charges related to the bombings was released from federal custody.

At a detention hearing on Monday afternoon, the man, Robel K. Phillipos, a former college student who is accused of lying to investigators, was released to his mother's custody while he awaits trial.

In a joint motion, lawyers for the defense and prosecution asked Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler of Federal District Court in Massachusetts to release Mr. Phillipos, 19, on $100,000 bail on the condition that he stay under house arrest and wear an electronic tracking bracelet.

The judge agreed to the motion and sternly warned Mr. Phillipos, who was dressed in an oversize orange prison jumpsuit, that he was not to break any of the conditions. He also was to provide a urine sample for drug testing before his release and was ordered to undergo random drug testing afterward. Bail was to be secured with real estate put up by a third party; the address where he is to be held under house arrest will not to be made public.

In discussing the burial standoff, Ray D. Madoff, a professor at Boston College Law School and a specialist in what she calls the law of the dead, said she had never seen such a case. "It is a legal no-man's land," she said.

Mr. Tsarnaev, 26, died after he and his brother tried to elude the authorities the week of the bombings. According to his death certificate, he was killed by gunshots and blunt trauma from being hit by an S.U.V. driven by his brother, who fled during a confrontation with the police.

Professor Madoff suggested that the body be sent back to Russia -- where Mr. Tsarnaev had lived, in the republic of Dagestan -- and that option may be gaining currency.

Peter A. Stefan, the owner of Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, which is holding the body, endorsed the idea on Monday, and he said he might seek help from Mr. Kerry in making the arrangements with the Russian authorities. "We can't just send the body over like we're dumping it," Mr. Stefan said.

William Breault, 65, chairman of a public safety group in Worcester, said he was trying to raise up to $7,000 to have the body sent to a foreign country. "Tamerlan Tsarnaev is not a citizen of the United States and does not have to be treated as such," he said, and Mr. Stefan is "out of options."

"We need the federal government to step in on this," Mr. Breault added.

Mr. Stefan said friends of the Tsarnaev family had contacted him about two weeks ago because he had experience with Muslim burials. He met with Ruslan Tsarni, Mr. Tsarnaev's uncle, last week to discuss arrangements.

Mr. Tsarni, a businessman from Maryland who said he had not seen either of the Tsarnaev brothers in about five years, wearily emerged from the funeral home's workroom on Sunday after spending hours with three friends washing and wrapping his nephew's body as tradition demands.

"We did what we have to do, something no one else could have done," he said. "Now all we need is a little luck."

Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston, and Jess Bidgood from Worcester, Mass.


This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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