• Worcester police chief's appeal: Get suspect's body out of city


    WORCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Nineteen days after Boston Marathon Bomber No. 1 Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gunbattle with police, cemeteries still refused to take his remains and government officials deflected questions about where he could be buried.

    The chief of the Worcester Police Department held a news conference Wednesday morning regarding the search for a burial plot for Tsarnaev's body.

    "I condemn the cruelty and savagery of the deceased in the harshest possible terms. And while I question the practicality of the decision to bring his body to the City of Worcester, I believe that Mr. Peter Stefan made his decision out of compassion and respect for his obligation to his profession," Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said. "However, Mr. Stefan's unilateral decision has created significant local public safety challenges and unnecessary costs."

    Tsarnaev's body remains at Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, where it has been since last Friday.

    The Boston Herald reports that Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan said Wednesday that "Friday is D-Day," and that if all else fails, he will press the issue with Cambridge.

    Police said they are working with Tamerlan Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, and Stefan to find a quick solution.

    Police said it's costing the department tens of thousands of dollars a day to provide security at the funeral home that is holding Tsarnaev's body, and officer details are wasting precious resources.

    Gemme said sending the body to Russia is "not an option," as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino suggested Tuesday, when he also said through an aide that he didn't want the bombing suspect buried in Boston.

    "Unfortunately we are still without a burial site and there are no immediate prospects," he said.

    Gemme appealed to authorities to find a burial plot for Tamerlan.

    "We are not barbarians. We bury the dead," said Gemme. "I am publicly appealing to those with authority to provide a burial site. Do so, and do so quickly."

    Gemme's plea came a day after he said that a deal struck Monday to bury Tsarnaev's remains at a state prison site dissolved, with state officials no longer offering cooperation Tuesday.

    State corrections officials deny having ever offered a location to bury Tsarnaev's body.

    "DOC's burial facilities have been reserved for the bodies of inmates who pass away while in state custody," says a statement from the Department of Corrections.

    Stefan has said none of the 120 offers of graves from the U.S. and Canada have worked out because officials in those cities and towns don't want the body.

    The 26-year-old Tsarnaev, a resident of Cambridge, was killed following a police shootout in Watertown.

    Authorities allege Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, carried out the April 15 bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards. The attack killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains imprisoned on charges in the case.

    U.S. law enforcement officials have been trying to determine whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev was indoctrinated or trained by militants during a 2012 visit to Dagestan, a Caspian Sea province that has become the center of a simmering Islamic insurgency.

    FBI director Robert Mueller discussed the bombing investigation On Tuesday with his Russian counterparts during a trip to Moscow. The U.S. and Russia have been collaborating on a criminal investigation into the brothers.

    On Tuesday, the father of a student charged with conspiracy in the Boston Marathon bombing case said his son believes Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is "not a human" if he's responsible for the attacks.

    Amir Ismagulov, the father of Azamat Tazhayakov, also insisted during an interview that his son is not a terrorist. He said he has visited his son once in prison since arriving in the United States from Kazakhstan more than a week ago. He said he left flowers several times at a memorial near the Boston Marathon finish line at the 19-year-old's request.

    "Azamat loves the United States and the people of the United States," Ismagulov said as Arkady Bukh, his son's new Russian-speaking lawyer, translated for him. "He is not aggressive. He is not a terrorist. He is a simple boy."

    Tazhayakov is in a federal prison on charges that he conspired to destroy, conceal and cover up objects belonging to Tsarnaev, a college friend from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty.

    Ismagulov, 46, who works in the oil field business in Kazakhstan, described his son as an engineering student who was "happy in life" before "in one day, his life was shattered." He said Tazhayakov told him "it took days to get out of the shock because of the accusations" against him.

    Bukh, a New York City lawyer from the former Soviet Union, now represents Tazhayakov and said Tazhayakov 's family is "absolutely devastated" over the bombings.

    He stressed that Tazhayakov was cooperating with the government before his arrest last week.

    The lawyer said his client handed over Tsarnaev's laptop to the FBI on April 19 after he and friend Dias Kadyrbayev learned that federal agents were looking for them. Kadyrbayev also is charged with obstruction of justice in the bombing case.

    A third college friend, Robel Phillipos, got out of federal lockup on $100,000 bond Monday while awaiting trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators.

    Tazhayakov's next court date is May 14, but Bukh said arguing for his release would be a "problematic issue" in part because immigration agents could try to detain him again even if he satisfies bail conditions.

    Authorities initially charged Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev with violating the terms of their student visas while attending UMass Dartmouth.

    Immigration officials said Tuesday that they have temporarily suspended the immigration court proceedings against the two men but will continue the immigration removal process after their criminal cases are resolved.

    The FBI has alleged that on April 18, just hours after surveillance camera photos of the Tsarnaev brothers became public, the three students went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room and removed his backpack and laptop computer.

    Authorities said one of them later threw the backpack in the garbage, and it wound up in a landfill, where law enforcement officers found it. In the backpack were fireworks that had been emptied of their gunpowder.

    Bukh said the criminal complaint alleges it was Kadyrbayev, and not his client, who threw away the backpack with the fireworks.

    Ismagulov said his son told him he never intended to help Tsarnaev hide evidence. He also said Tazhayakov wasn't sure if Tsarnaev was one of the suspects in the first photos that were released because those images weren't high quality.

    "He would never intend to do anything bad to people in the United States," Ismagulov said of his son. He said he has left flowers at the memorial site because his son asked him "to express condolences to innocent people who were hurt and killed."

    In other developments Tuesday, the administrator of the One Fund Boston charity said potential recipients should have low expectations because the $28 million fund won't pay out nearly enough to fully compensate the families of those who died or who suffered injuries.

    Attorney Kenneth Feinberg said at a public meeting in Boston that his draft plan for distributing the money reserves the highest payments for the families of those killed at the marathon and for the relatives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who authorities say the bombing suspects killed.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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