Criminal Justice

Alicia Koehl Act Becomes New National Cemeteries Law

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December 20, 2013 — By Kristyn Estes

Indiana’s U.S. Senator Dan Coats is celebrating a win for the integrity of military burials after President Barack Obama signed the “Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act” into law.  Coats co-sponsored the bill named after an Indianapolis woman who was shot and killed by a gunman in May 2012.

After Koehl’s murder the shooter, military veteran Michael L. Anderson, fatally shot himself.  Though existing laws prohibit it, Anderson subsequently was buried with full military honors, at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan.

The cemetery later acknowledged the mistake but said it did not have the legal authority to disinter Anderson’s remains.

Senator Coats says “This law corrects an unacceptable mistake and protects the integrity of our national cemeteries by ensuring our veterans can bury their loved ones among heroes.”

The law prevents military burials in national cemeteries for veterans found guilty of a state or federal capital crime.


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