Season Four, Episode 00 – Lonewolf

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LONEWOLF: There are times that things get real bad. There’s no question.  We had the students and they came in on Sundays to do their clinicals. He had a body, and I had seen the body, so when they came in,  I took him down to the morgue. I said, “I’m going to show you something but I can’t take it back once you see it.”

So I said “ Please, you’re not a chicken, you’re not weak, but it’s not going to be nice. I said, he’s been cut up into 16 pieces.” Some of the students left the group. And I’d always told him, just go to the kitchen and get something  because these things are tough. It’s always going to be with you. 

So with the other students there, I opened the cooler door and pulled the body out. And I took the hand out and I handed one of the students the hand. I said, “I want you to notice something about the way the hand was severed.  What do you notice about that? That looks different.”  He said, “Those cuts are clean.” I said,” They’re very clean.” Now, how do you think that could have been done? Well, maybe it was a saw.  But how do you get precision cuts like this?  I don’t know. I said “ He was murdered, and he was frozen.  He was taken out of  the freezer, and he was sliced up, nice, clean.”  So they said “Well, what are you going to do?” I said, “I’m  going to put him back together again. But I got one problem.”  They said, “ What’s that?”  I said, “His head isn’t here. His head’s gone. They never found it.  I said, if you give me a head, and that’s all that’s there, is a head. I can have an open casket. You build the body  underneath it.” 

My name is Lonewolf,  and I work here at Graham, Putnam Funeral Parlors,  838 Main Street,  Worcester, Massachusetts. I’ve been here for almost going on 10 years now. There are many things that I do here.  I do the embalming, I do the makeup, calling hours, just about do everything here.  I’ve done several things in my life. 

I was an electrical engineer for 22 years, criminal investigator. I worked for defense attorneys. I also worked on wrongful deaths.  A hypnotherapist for many, many years. A minister. I’ve been a minister for 30 years. There’s so many things that I’ve done,  and I spent a lot of time with people that were dying. 

Early one afternoon, I was at a gas station. In my town where I lived, there’s a little gas station I always stop at. And there were two funeral homes that I’d gone by several times over the years. But this particular day, as the gas was being put in my car, I’m looking over at the funeral home and I see the drapes closed. Only this time, I saw it differently. I saw it with the eyes of a child that was very curious. I drive down the street, and the funeral home’s still on my mind. What do you do? What’s different that’s done now than compared to the Egyptians? 

And then I drove on further into the next town and I met with some friends of mine and I told him, I said, “You know, I just had a strange, I mean, I’ve been by funeral homes all my life, but this one was different. It caught my attention.”  So a friend of mine said, “Well, there’s a mortuary school nearby, you could always check into it there.”

I said,”Okay.” I knew that I was being drawn to this by something. All of a sudden, I want to go to mortuary school. Something was happening. When I got to the school to go in to see if I could get into school,  I remember parking in the parking lot. It was a sunny day. I looked up and I said, God?  If this is what you want me to do, you’re going to have to help me, because I’m going to be afraid. Whatever you want, just guide me. The bottom line is, I believe that I was told to go to mortuary school. And I believe that there was something greater than us that put me there. 

I was in the embalming room. I enrolled in mortuary school by the following week. It was a curiosity, but also there’s another factor playing there.  Sometimes I will go and learn about the things that scare me the most.  If you can learn about it, it might help with the fear. When I was at the mortuary school,  We were taught how to embalm. We were instructed that we needed to use all these different instruments. Forceps, hemostats, and all these terms for all these instruments that are supposed to help us do our job.  But I learned early that you had to sometimes think outside the box. There’s a chapter in the book that talks about reconstruction.

And basically, if you have to make a set of lips from the mouth, you can make them with wax. There was all kinds of layers of paints and stuff like that. Different colors you would put on in order to bring out a complexion. But it wasn’t getting into the deep damage that could be done. Does anybody have any classes on severe trauma? And there was nothing available. I even went on the internet to look to see.  It’s called post mortem anatomical surgery.  But where?  So I got an idea. 

I was at a Walgreens near where I live. It was Halloween time.  And I looked at this skull and I said, This is the same size as a human skull. And so, I had a whole arm full of them. And as I’m walking across the room toward the cashier, I dropped one and it broke.  And the girl said,”Oh, that’s alright sir, I’ll get you another one.”

I said, “No, that’s okay. I’m gonna do the same thing to the rest of them anyways.”  And she looked at me and I said, “Long story.” She said, “You sure you don’t want a new one? I said “No, this is alright.” See, that would be blunt force trauma to the head. I needed to master being able to put it back together. 

I had skulls all over the place.  My wife said, “What are you doing? You got more of those skulls?” I said, “Look, I gotta learn how to do this stuff.”  So I would simulate gunshot wounds, because that’s typically what we would see, murders with gunshot.  I would actually take a skull and I would simulate the bullet hole going in and the exit hole. 

And then I sat, and I learned how to put them back together again. And this wasn’t in the embalming books, but I sat and I had a hutch in front of the table I would sit at and I had skulls lined up in the whole hutch. And that’s how I learned it. I had to invent ways. I had to learn it on my own because there was nowhere I could go to do it. 

When I was in school, one day the owner of the funeral home came to the school  and he came down to bring a body for the students at the school to work on. And the assistant director of the institute said to me, “This is the guy. If you ever want to talk to somebody in funeral services, this is the guy that is the head boss of funerals.”

PETER STEFAN: My name is Peter Stefan, we’re in Worcester, Massachusetts at the Graham, Putnam, and Mahoney Funeral Parlor.  I like the business. I like dealing with the people. Funerals have gotten too expensive. Cemeteries are too expensive. So the families can’t afford it.  The average funeral in this country is probably $8,000 exclusive of paying your cemetery costs, which puts you up over $11,000. 

There aren’t that many people that can spend that kind of money. When I do funerals here, for a third of that money.

LONEWOLF: With Peter it’s interesting to hear the stories that he shares and the things that he’s been through. Peter and I got to talking and Peter says, “You know what? If you ever want to  talk about funeral services, or whatever you want to do, he said, why don’t you just stop up?” I was up there the next day. 

PETER STEFAN: I work by, uh, one of the adages I have – a fast nickel is better than a slow dollar, and if you count the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. And they always have.  This firm always took care of poor people from day one. The poor, they basically have been innocent because they’ve struggled all their lives, most of them. They have no luxuries to speak of. They deal with necessities.  They have a different thought to it. When death happens, they’re so close to everything else. It’s not something they can push aside.  You just don’t do that. 

LONEWOLF: So I always said to myself, that guy thinks like I do. It’s not always about the money. Yeah, it’s important. I get that part. But what do you do  when a parent comes in and tells you their child got killed?  Or worse, got murdered. What do you do? And they don’t have the money.  And I knew Peter was good for taking care of that.  And that was the beginning, right there. 

Where I live is 60 miles from here. At the end of my driveway there are two funeral homes. Now I could work at those funeral homes  but I choose not to. I choose to be here at Graham Putnam. Because here, we take the people that others won’t take. And I get it. Believe me, I get it. You have to have money to run a business. I get all that stuff.  But that’s the reason why we have so many abandoned bodies in this state. People become abandoned. And there’s nobody to take them. So we would be the ones that would go and get them from the medical examiners. Or they’re abandoned in the hospital. We would do the police calls all the time. Unattended death. Crime scene clears it. All they need is a funeral home. They would call up. I’d say, “Where are you?”

PETER STEFAN: Poor people really struggle with every issue. So they’ll never pass on a body. They’ll try and find somebody to do something, a minister or whatever. Death has a big meaning. Whatever it is, we do it.  Some days you make a quarter. Some days you make a buck. Some days you lose a quarter. Some days you lose a buck. But we’ve been doing something, right? Because we’ve been here for a lot of years and we do fairly well. We’re not millionaires. We don’t act like millionaires.  And one of my favorite expressions is, God must have loved the poor because he made so many of them. 

LONEWOLF: If a high profile case hits the newspaper, we’re either doing it or we’re advising on it, and  the phones are ringing.  So it’s almost like the central hub. So we get called out to anything and everything. What’s unique about here is the different elements, the different groups of people that you’re dealing with.

We deal with all different kinds of cultures, religions. So when you’re in a city like this it’s a mixture of everything. 

PETER STEFAN: They all have burials, even the devil worshippers have a burial.  They do it differently, but the actual act is they bury somebody.  But they have different customs. A lot of these groups are all different. The Muslims are different. Christian people do it a certain way. The Jewish people do it a certain way. But they still bury people.  The final act is you bury somebody, whether it’s in a casket, a box, a shroud, or a bag.  

LONEWOLF: We had a vampire society. Whether you know it or not, there are vampire societies out there. So we had a family, and they were into some vampire society or whatever. Okay. You see, if Martians crashed  at the airport, we’re the ones that are going to get the call. So we see all kinds of stuff. 

So the brother came in, him and his sister were in this vampire society. So they wanted to order a European coffin. The one that’s shaped like Count Dracula. So Peter ordered them. It was  black, high gloss, trimmed with red velvet on the inside. I swear it was like a sports car. So yeah, you have all different cultures and you have something like that. And what are you going to do? We let people do what their culture would usually do unless they step on a law.  

The Mandaeans, they don’t and they shroud the body. But with them, they follow the teachings of John the Baptist. So everything is based around water.  And at home, at the house, we usually give them the time to make this like a little stretcher, and it’s made out of reeds. So we give the Mandaeans enough time to do what they have to do and respect their religion. And then we’ll come and get the body. In some cases, they want to bury their own dead. And we help them to do that as well. Other places, it’s no. We do everything we can here to give someone what they really need according to what their religion is. 

And so you see a lot of intense cases. It’s very rare for me to work on the little old lady at a hundred years old. It’s more common for me to have a body in there that something bad’s happened and I get to try to bring them back when there’s been a lot of damage done to the body. 

Most funeral homes would say closed casket, but here we do everything we can to have that open casket.  One case where the top of the head was gone, that was a man that kept his head shaved, which worked to my benefit. The family was told, the medical examiner said, there’s no way this can be an open casket.

And I said to the family, I said, “If that’s what they told you, I’m the one that’s going to do it. Let me see what I can do.”  So I’m in the prep room, there’s no top of the calvarium, there’s no top of the skull. It got crushed, lost, probably at the scene. So I look in the closet and I see where we keep the wigs. 

But it wasn’t the wig I was interested in. It was the styrofoam head. So what I did was I cut the styrofoam  enough to be able to fit it on top of the head. And then you use mortuary putty to come around it. They don’t teach you this. You gotta learn it. And so, we were able to have an open casket  for him. And that’s probably the most fascinating part, is to be able to do something that others say can’t be done. 

I was off that day. And I was in the car,  and it was the day of the Boston Marathon, and it come over the news what had happened. 

AUDIO CLIP: We are interrupting programming now because there has apparently been an explosion near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. 

LONEWOLF: My heart broke for all those people at the Boston Marathon, my heart broke.I literally saw the garbage barrel explode.

AUDIO CLIP I saw the flash, the fire, the smoke, and I just ran as fast as I could. 

LONEWOLF: I didn’t know any of them. But what an awful, horrible thing to have happen. 

AUDIO CLIP: More than 100 injured, many with grave injuries. At least three people have died. Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this.And we will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this. 

LONEWOLF: A few days after the bombing, I was at the office and the doorbell rang, so I went to get it. I went and answered the doors. Two gentlemen. And the man had told me there was a death in the family.  And I offered my condolences. And he said that he was the uncle. His name was Ruslan, and he gives me the names and stuff, and I’m not recognizing anything. And so we’re done with the paperwork, we have the release form to get him out of the medical examiner’s office, and then they were going to decide further what would be going on. Which seemed a little odd. And he said,  “You know who he is, don’t you?” And I’m gonna use the same verbiage that he used. You know who the deceased is, don’t you? I said “No.” He said “It’s my little bastard nephew.  Boston Marathon. He was the one that set off the bombs.” And I just froze. I was the one that took care of the body. 

I got stuck in this jam of guilt versus what am I supposed to do now? And then I remembered. I’m tending to the dead. It’s not my job to pass the laws. I’m not law enforcement. I’m nothing. I’m the embalmer. That’s all I am. But I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I really and truly did. 

That’s what made everything very unique because how do you handle that? When the whole country is looking, and they want the body thrown to the sharks, they want it burned.  

AUDIO CLIP: You guys should be ashamed of yourselves, you fucking scumbags.  You guys need to man up, and you need to just get rid of that body.  Hang him off the Quinsigamond Bridge, so the people going by in their boats can whack him with a hockey stick or something. Get that terrorist out of our city. 

LONEWOLF: How do you deal with that? So we had to figure it out. Nobody would help us. Funeral directors around the country buried their head in the sand.  Nobody. Wanted to help us. We were on our own and we had to figure it out. 

We managed to sneak the body into the funeral home when we finally got the body in our care. As we were coming back that night, there was a TV station camera crew right at the end of the parking lot.  Someone tipped the press off. So they were waiting when we came back. You’ve got CNN, you’ve got MSNBC, you’ve got everybody. You’ve got towers on these trucks going up. 

AUDIO CLIP: A lot of anger in this city tonight after the funeral director at the home behind me the body is at a funeral home in Worcester, Massachusetts. Cemeteries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, they want nothing to do with his corpse.  

LONEWOLF:The protesters came. They’d beaten us badly with all kinds of bad things you deserve to rot in hell that the worst things they could possibly say they said them.

AUDIO CLIP: Load it in a body bag and let the guy drive it back and throw it in some landfill outside of Massachusetts, cause it sure doesn’t belong here. I know a good place you could bury that piece of shit Muslim, probably a prison cemetery would be a good place.

LONEWOLF:The security had to be stepped up. It was very intense because I know that at any time, I don’t know if they’re going to hit us with a molotov cocktail. I don’t know what’s going to happen. The police sent 12 officers and it was a SWAT team on standby down the street, down Main Street. Because this was going to be a hot one. They were very volatile. These people hated us. 

AUDIO CLIP: Why don’t you take that body out and drag it through the streets? Cremate his ass and ship his ashes back to Russia. Why don’t you take the body and go throw it in the dumpster? Cremate the bastard and throw him in the trash.  

LONEWOLF: And I learned a trick a long time ago. There are two words you never use to the press,  or to anybody. The words are “No comment.”  You just told them what they wanted to know. So the press people would come up and talk to me.  What I did was I made believe I was on the phone. They don’t bother you. 

I was going out to do a removal or something and my left hand was hanging out of the hearse. There were twelve officers there, six on each gate basically. And the officers stopped the traffic so that I could drive out.  When I took the right, I felt a sharp pain in my left hand. I pulled my hand back in and I looked and I was bleeding at a pretty good clip. So I had to cover it up to go do what I had to do. And apparently someone had thrown a rock, but it was not like a round rock. It had to be like a piece of slate because it sliced me. The rock came from one of the protesters. So that had just happened. 

I came back, my hands bleeding and the people are acting up and this hurts enough. I got to work on this body the next day and I’m left handed and this hand is hurting. 

I come out the door. All the cops saw me and one of the cops said “Oh here he goes.” And I said, “No, it’s alright.” These people over here I know. And I did. I said, ”Keep it down for a minute. I see a lot of familiar faces here. I understand what you think.” 

My hand was behind my back.The one that was bleeding was behind my back. I said, “ I have a responsibility that I have no choice. If you want this body thrown into the dumpster, if you want anything done to this body, I will give you the telephone number of the Speaker of the House and you go. You will get the law passed and then talk to me. But what you’re saying is illegal and I’ve got a responsibility. And by the way, you people that I see out here, I’ve seen you in the funeral home. I’ve seen you when your friends, your relatives have been shot in the head. Who do you think puts them back together?  Who do you think will put the time in to do it?  Me. It’s me that does it. I said now, one of you, I don’t know which one. One of you did this and it brought.”

By that time, the blood was running down my arm. I said, “This will make it so that you get used to having closed caskets. If you hurt me, you’ve just made it so you’re going to get closed caskets. Well, they said I didn’t, I didn’t do that, I didn’t.”  I said, “I don’t care who did it, I’m telling you. I’ve been very quiet, and I’ll remain quiet. But when you do this, and I have a job to do, that doesn’t fly with me.”

When I walked into the room where the body of the Boston Marathon Bomber was, the staff had brought him and put him on the table and my partner and I took him out of the bag. And he was in rough shape.  Now, the uncle  was outside in the next room.  He said, “Can I see the body?”  I said, “You can, Ruslan.

Absolutely. But I have to warn you, it’s not going to really be recognizable like you would think. I just want to let you know,  it looks like  he had thrown himself on a hand grenade.  And all it is is a pile of meat.  I got to tell you that I want to prepare you.”

So I opened the prep room door. I went in, Ruslan came in and Ruslan stood back and he said to me, “How are you going to do this?” I said, “With a little bit of faith I’ll be able to do it.”

I just don’t know if this is appropriate to say, but when I go into the embalming room, I believe that I’m being led by God. And I also believe the spirit is there. So while I was doing my work. I basically had a conversation and I said to the body, “What were you thinking?  What was going on in your mind to do something? And did you ever think for one second that it would be a Christian minister that would be putting you back together again?  Do you realize the damage that you did?  The innocent lives, the maiming of the  dead,  you thinking?” I said, “Tell me something. What did it get you? Are you with the virgins now? Tell me about the Emerald City.  Are you there yet? “

He was in so much agony. I’m telling you, anybody thinks that he should have been murdered, he should have been executed. An electric chair, injection would have been a piece of toast compared to what his body went through. 3 500 sutures. 3,500 sutures. I think it took me about five and a half, six hours. That’s constant suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture, suture. 

I knew it was going to be tough to get 206 pound 6 foot 3 person out of a funeral home with TV cameras at the end of both driveways. There’s no way to go. Nobody, not even the White House. Nobody wants to touch it. It was like a hot potato. We were trying to find a cemetery. All cemeteries were closed. They wanted nothing to do with it. They actually said no. 

And we got a call. That was a break. We got a call from a woman.  And she donated the grave. Now the biggest problem now was to get the body from Massachusetts to West Virginia. And to do it without anyone knowing anything, was, it was interesting. 

The  plan went like this. I made a dummy. And I put it on a stretcher. Then we took another stretcher and we put what’s called a cremation container, covered. Actually the cover went over the body. This looks like the way a funeral person would take a body to the crematory in a cardboard box. So we have one car that’s going out with just a stretcher and a dummy on it. We have another vehicle going out thats inside  a cremation container. If someone saw the cremation container versus a container with a body on it, just a body, my hope was that they would go for the dummy instead of going for what the real thing was.  So at 7:40 PM the first vehicle takes off. That’s the one that has a cremation container in it. That’s the one with the body in it. It had to be timed perfectly. 

So they leave, three minutes later we go. I told Ruslan, “Keep in phone contact with me. And when it’s done, call me.”  So he calls me, he says, “OK.  We’ve got the body, we’re on our way.”  So,  9:30 in the morning comes. Ruslan called me and said, “OK, we’re done. The body’s in the ground.”  I said, “Good, the body’s in the ground. Excellent job.”

After the bad mail came in, that’s when the good stuff came in. Things like, “Nobody else would have done it except for your funeral home.”  And that makes you feel good in the sense that we put our foot in it  to do what we do. It’s to tend to the dead. 

AUDIO CLIP: I really think that you taking in that terrorists body is a very civil thing to do. I think you guys are doing the right thing, trying to work it out with that family, no matter what he did. You’re doing the right thing, and I’m sorry that you’re at the brunt of the other end of so much hatred

LONEWOLF:We’re just tending to the dead, that’s what our job is. We’ve taken an oath to tend to the dead, and that’s it. 

When I watched the trailer for Patriot’s Day, I saw it here at the funeral home, and there’s a part of me  that went through the guilt. Did I betray my people? Did I betray them?  And then I thought in terms of, well,  when this happened, there were surgeons that tried desperately to save that individual’s life. But they don’t get judged. Yet the funeral home was. 

When I started doing these interviews with you gentlemen, I was in funeral services. I was at Graham Putnam 12, 13 years. But since Peter’s recent death, I’ve decided it’s time to move on to something else.  I always knew that when the day came that Peter would pass on, that would be the time that I would leave. 

So, the day Peter was buried, he was buried in a mausoleum, I turned in my resignation papers. When I was resigning and I was getting telephone calls and texting, Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Don’t do it! But,  everybody knows, even the students know, can always give me a call. 

PETER STEFAN: Well, with the bomb I get a lot of threats. Yeah. I still get them. Well, they threatened to throw a bomb at you. What the hell, are they going to shoot you? I said, yeah, that’s great. Somebody said, they’re going to burn a cross in my name. I said, burn two in case I miss the first one.  If you’re going to live in fear all day, then we don’t belong here. 

What we do here is we bury the dead. I don’t separate the sins from the sinners. I don’t do that. If you had come in to me and said, I want you to bury my Uncle Freddy, but he was a bank robber. I don’t bury bank robbers. Well, who the hell do you bury? 

AUDIO CLIP: They’re filled with people in the streets. They’re just filled with debris. There are many people covered in blood. Cowardly, almost satanic people that would slaughter innocent people like this. The coroner had indicated that he needed a hundred more body bags. It is just a mess of hanging rods, glass, everything it is. It’s as if a huge bomb went off on that side of the building. That’s exactly what it was. 

LONEWOLF: Now, let me step back a minute. My sister in law  was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing  by Timothy McVeigh. That was a domestic terrorist act. So I know firsthand what terrorism can do to a family.  And I remember every detail of what happened. I saw the Oklahoma City bombing on television. They just broke the news. We don’t know who planted this bomb or placed the car bomb there or why.

AUDIO CLIP: Oklahoma City officials say Twenty people have been confirmed killed from today’s car bomb. The bomb went off just as children had been dropped off at a daycare center on the second floor. The daycare center on the second floor destroyed. I guess we pulled six dead babies out. It’s just the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen in my life. 

LONEWOLF: The name of the building sounded familiar. So, it was within a couple of hours. My brother from Oklahoma called. And he said, “Did you hear what happened?” I said,”Right. Tell me about that building.” He said, “That’s the federal building. That’s the one that Linda worked in.” I said,”I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

She was a manager for the Secret Service in Oklahoma City. They used to call her Mama. She was like their mother. She took care of those agents. The agents loved her.  When they were searching the building, the rescue portion basically was over. It was now looking for the bodies. 

AUDIO CLIP: In two hours, there was one person found and everyone else is dead.  Everyone else who’s in the building at this point is beyond health is what you’re  unable to reach. These people are the ones that we have been discovering. They’re beyond help. They’re dead. 

LONEWOLF: She had a coworker Becky. And Becky and Linda were very, very close. And Becky decided she wanted to take the time to go on that search in the rubble as well, because they still had not found Linda. Becky found her. She was underneath the doorframe of a conference room that when the building blew up and everything came down, Becky managed to crawl through because she knew Linda had a meeting that day. So Becky decided to crawl through whatever she could go through. And sure enough, she found Linda’s remains. 

AUDIO CLIP: It’s really depressing scene here. That’s all I can say. For the most part, people write down what their loved ones look like. And uh, this isn’t where you come to find out whether they are deceased or not.It’s not that kind of a deal. You just come out and just kind of makes the process a little bit shorter. 

LONEWOLF: There was a like a hole in me. I never felt murder in the family. You serious? Something of this magnitude. So when I get out there, my brother picked me up and my middle son Joshua came with me and he brought these little cards that all the elementary school kids made for the family.  And so, he was only about eight, nine years old. And we had this big thing of cards that each of the students made out because they had seen it too. 

And at that point, Oklahoma City looked like a giant funeral procession. A lot of the funerals were going out. And we had to drive at least 60 or 80 miles to get to the grave of where she was going to be buried.  And I have never seen anything like this. There were rows and rows of hearses. Going out to different areas for the burials. Every intersection we came to, people put their hands on their heart. Trains stopped. The engineer outside, the conductors outside, police saluting. And I remember getting to the cemetery.  And I remember my brother’s mother in law saying, “Today, Oklahoma City lost its innocence. And it will never regain it again.”

The day after the service, I was at my brother’s and some of the members of the Secret Service, Linda was their boss, were there and I got talking with one of them and he said, “Would you like to go down to the site?”  And I said, “Yeah.”  My brother came too and they took us down to  the site of where the wreckage was. And to look at the building didn’t make sense. That’s the only way I can describe it. It didn’t make sense. It was just a pile of rubble, like someone had ripped the building in half, with a front end, and just ripped it right in half.  I mean, it was just a total, total disaster. That just hit right through, hit me in the gut. It just hit me in the gut. 

Weird thing that happened, if you look at the photograph of the bombing of that building, you’ll see it. I believe it’s on the left. She was like on the third or fourth floor.  But, she used to keep a gumball machine  and she always used to have it filled up for the agents. That whole floor, it was gone except for the gumball machine. It was sitting on the filing cabinet. It didn’t move an inch. You could see it.  My brother said, “Look up.”  And I looked up. “That’s her gumball machine.”  And I mean the floor six inches from that filing cabinet. There  was nothing left. It was gone. It was very, very difficult. And it was just total sadness. 

AUDIO CLIP: This is not a day of great joy for the prosecution team. We’re pleased that justice prevailed,  but the verdict doesn’t diminish the great sadness that occurred in Oklahoma City  two years ago.  Our only hope is that the verdict will go some way to preventing such a crime.  

LONEWOLF: When they showed Timothy McVeigh being walked out of the courthouse, he was wearing an orange jumpsuit, and I just looked at him and I could see pure evil. No conception of caring at all.Ice cold. As a matter of fact, word was around town. Don’t lock them up. Let them loose in the streets. And you know what that meant.  And it seems like it all happened so fast.  He was charged. He was tried. He was convicted. And the next thing you know, they’re going to execute him. 

But I do know that the families were told if you wanted to see the execution of Timothy McVeigh, they’d make it possible.  My brother declined. He said, who wants to see it? I don’t want to see it. He did what he did. He was executed. But there was no need, didn’t want to see it. 

AUDIO CLIP: The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance, but justice and one young man met the fate he chose for himself six years ago. McVeigh is a coward and a low down bastard. Somebody tried to take my life, they deserve to burn in hell. Hopefully everybody that was affected anywhere can maybe breathe some cleaner air for a change. It’s not polluted with him. 

LONEWOLF: Now, I equated that with what I was doing on the Boston issue, and I’m looking at both of them. And I’m saying, well, we never thought of going to the funeral home that took care of the body of the one that killed my sister in law. We never even thought of that. I don’t think anybody in Oklahoma did it. Where were the protesters that went to the funeral home?  Where were all the threats coming into the funeral home that tended to the body? It didn’t happen. So we get an issue in Boston and I’m seeing the complete opposite.  We’re being held responsible. We’re being told you’re going to die. We’re going to blow up the building.  What if I was in the funeral home tending to Timothy McVeigh after he was executed? What would I have felt back then? 

I never once  even considered the funeral home that took him as being bad people. It was what it was. I mean, he was dead and that was it. The funeral home came and got him. So I never once considered the  morality of the funeral home that took his body.  It wasn’t anything that even entered my mind.  The bottom line is, our job is to tend to the dead. 

PRODUCER: I just have one question as well. I mean, maybe it’s too existential or too large, but how do you reflect on your own mortality? 

LONEWOLF: It’s called an existential dilemma. Death is one of them. Trying to make sense out of something that kinda doesn’t. I’ve learned to understand more  of the grieving, of what grief is. I’ve seen so much of it,  that I know that  death is unavoidable.  It’s going to come,  and we can’t stop it. I don’t wanna die. And death is eerie to me, but you would think that I can get past those kind of words, we’re saying it is eerie. But when you’re working around trauma, this kind of stuff, all the time, it’s almost like you become robotic in a sense, in certain scenes, and you’re just going through the motions, but you’re still caring. 

At the end of the day, who’s there to talk to you? You have Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous,  Weight Watchers. They have all of these support groups. Do you know that we don’t? 

I’ve seen a lot of death. I’ve seen a lot of it. And death has kind of been with me all my life. I find myself  looking over my life now. And you say to yourself, I don’t regret it. But it’s all  for the love of mankind. But you look at your life now. Like I say to my wife, “This is the golden years.”

Where did my life go? Where did my life go?  I could help others, but I couldn’t help myself. The bottom line is, I went my whole life because I cared. But it’s like compassion, it’s a double edged sword. It hurts to love. 

Sometimes what I’ll say to people when they ask me, “Do you ever get used to this?”  I’ll say, “You know, it’s not uncommon if you go to a cemetery and  there’s a funeral procession there and you hear all the crying and it’s kind of like raining out. A little breeze in the air, and you look, and you see me off in the distance with a pair of sunglasses on, but the sun’s not out. I’m  not wearing them because of the sun.  And you don’t have to cry all the time. You’re  gonna feel it.  But you don’t have to cry every time.”