There was once a time that murderers, rapists and common criminals would be buried at crossroads, or their bodies would be pitched in a ditch. Anywhere except the regular cemeteries where everyone else was interred.
Burying convicted murderers and rapists at veterans’ cemeteries was banned by a 1997 federal law, which was aimed at preventing Oklahoma City bomber and Army veteran Timothy McVeigh from being interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
So what happens when one slips through and ends up getting buried in a graveyard among other veterans?
In 2017, the remains of Guillermo Aillon, an Army Vietnam veteran was disinterred from a Middletown, Connecticut cemetery. And for good reason.
In August 1972, George and Bernice Montano, and their daughter Barbara Aillon were found stabbed to death in their home. Barbara, 28, had been separated from Aillon for a few days and moved in with her parents in New Haven. All three victims were found dressed in their pajamas and a 7-month-old baby girl was found blood-splattered and crying, but unharmed under a kitchen chair feet from his mother's body.
Eventually Guillermo, an immigrant from Bolivia, who ironically was a community activist was arrested for the crime. He used a steak knife to kill all of them. In 1984, after three jury trials, he was sentenced to 75 years to life; he died in 2014.
In 2012, Army veteran Michael Leshawn Anderson went on a shooting rampage at the apartment building where he lived. He shot Alicia Koehl, wife and mother of two, who worked in the leasing office 13 times. He also wounded three others. Anderson then committed suicide. The reason for the crime was never determined and an autopsy did not find any drugs in Anderson's body. His family lied about the murder which is how he was allowed burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery.
Alicia Koehl's husband was quoted as saying, "That monster was responsible fo murdering my wife. And I have reason to believe that she begged for her life. He showed her no mercy. I have to ask, why should I have any mercy on him?"
In 2013, due to the efforts of the Koehl family and named after Alicia Koehl, a new law was passed which prohibits people who committed murders and rapes but were not available for trial and not convicted from being buried in military cemeteries.
In 2014, Anderson's remains were exhumed from the cemetery.
Since burial in a military cemetery requires the family to apply for this interment, it specifically asks if the deceased had committed murder or other serious sexual offenses. Certain states now require funeral directors to specify if the family or those sending the body for burial have answered this question.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer