Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday he wished that one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing wasn't buried last week in a Virginia cemetery, but added there's nothing he can do about it.
After a prolonged search to find a cemetery that would accept the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, authorities finally found a taker. The Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia arranged for Tsarnaev to be buried Thursday at Al-Barzakh Cemetery in Caroline County, about 30 miles north of Richmond.
Since then, some residents have voiced their displeasure at having Tsarnaev, who helped plot and carry out the bombing last month that killed three people and injured more than 200 others, is buried in the Old Dominion, a state in which former presidents are buried and countless U.S. soldiers are laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, an anti-Islamic group, is calling for Tsarnaev to be removed and for a federal investigation into whether any laws were broken.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Richmond, McDonnell said he played no role in helping secure a burial plot for Tsarnaev.
"That wouldn't have been my choice but it's a private cemetery, it's a religious cemetery. My understanding is we don't regulate those. It's really a matter of private property," McDonnell said.
A spokesman for McDonnell added that the administration and the Board of Funeral Home Directors and Embalmers were not contacted about the planned burial and only learned of it from media reports. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation doesn't regulate private religious cemeteries, the spokesman added.
"There are a lot of things people do with their private property that they're entitled to do under the Constitution that maybe some of us would make a different choice about," McDonnell said. "The state doesn't interfere with regulating who's buried at a private cemetery. Would I prefer them to be buried somewhere else? Sure."