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Bill would allow killer vets' remains to be exhumed

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, introduced legislation Tuesday that would give the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Army the authority to exhume from national cemeteries the remains of military veterans who committed capital crimes.

The bill by Brooks, a Fort Wayne native, is the House version of one introduced this summer by Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Both bills are in response to the 2012 burial in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Mich., of Army veteran Michael LaShawn Anderson.

Anderson killed himself after slaying Alicia Dawn Koehl and wounding three people during a shooting spree at an Indianapolis apartment complex where Koehl worked. Koehl was married to Fort Wayne native Paul Koehl, whose parents live in the city.

Federal law prohibits the burial in national cemeteries of anyone who has been charged with a capital crime but died before trial.