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Miller Applauds House Passage of Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act

Dec 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 1471, the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act. The bill would give the Department of Veterans Affairs and Army Secretaries the authority to exhume from national cemeteries the remains of individuals who have committed capital crimes.

Sponsored by Sen. Dan Coats in the Senate and Rep. Susan Brooks in the House, the bill comes in response to the case of Michael LeShawn Anderson, who murdered Alicia Dawn Koehl prior to taking his own life.  Despite Anderson’s horrible crime, he was later buried in VA’s Fort Custer National Cemetery. In addition to providing broader disinterment authority should similar cases be discovered, S. 1471 would specifically direct VA to disinter Anderson’s remains.

S. 1471 will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. Following House passage of the bill, Chairman Miller released the below statement:

“For the sake not only of the victims and their families, but also the memory of veterans who conducted themselves during and after military service with honor befitting of a national cemetery burial, capital offenders don’t belong in our military cemeteries. This bill would grant VA and Army leaders all of the tools needed to take out of our national cemeteries those who have sullied their military service through their own heinous actions.  It also enables some small measure of justice for those affected by Alicia Dawn Koehl’s tragic death. I’m proud to stand in support of this bill and call on President Obama to sign it without delay.”– Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs