HARTFORD, Conn. – The recent exhumation of an Army Vietnam veteran’s body from the Connecticut State Veterans Cemetery was a rare invocation of federal laws aimed at keeping murderers and rapists out of veterans burial grounds, federal and state officials say.
The remains of Guillermo Aillon were disinterred from the Middletown cemetery July 3, after state veterans’ affairs officials learned that he had been serving a life prison sentence for stabbing to death his estranged wife and both her parents in North Haven in 1972. It’s not clear where the remains were taken.
Only one other person appears to have been exhumed from a U.S. veterans’ cemetery under a 2013 federal law that gave the federal Department of Veterans Affairs the authority to dig up the remains of murderers and rapists, according to the VA.
In 2014, the body of Army veteran Michael LeShawn Anderson was removed from the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. Authorities said Anderson killed Alicia Koehl, wounded three other people and killed himself in a 2012 shooting in Indianapolis. The 2013 law, named after Koehl, specifically authorized the exhumation of Anderson.
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.
The law prohibits people sentenced to life in prison or death on…