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Weather stalls action on bill to exhume Hoosier woman’s killer

The U.S. House has delayed for at least a day the consideration of legislation allowing for the removal from national cemeteries the remains of military veterans who committed capital crimes.

The House originally was scheduled to take up the proposal Tuesday afternoon. But winter storms in recent days have delayed or canceled numerous flights to Washington, D.C., keeping lawmakers away from Capitol Hill and disrupting the congressional calendar.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., stems from the 2012 shooting death of an Indianapolis woman by an Army veteran who killed himself and was buried by mistake, at taxpayer expense and with military honors, in a national cemetery in Augusta, Mich.

Federal law bans such burials, but the Department of Veterans Affairs told Coats and the family of Alicia Dawn Koehl that it lacked the authority to exhume the remains of Koehl’s killer, Michael LaShawn Anderson.

Koehl’s husband, Paul Koehl, is a 1987 graduate of Snider High School, and his parents live in Fort Wayne.

The Senate approved S. 1471 by unanimous consent without debate on Nov. 18. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is a co-sponsor, and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, is the sponsor of a House version of the legislation.

State and federal capital crimes are punishable by death and include treason, murder and rape with additional bodily harm.

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