Sen. Coats testifies for the bill that would take military honors away from a murdererOctober 30th, 2013 at 4:27 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
Alicia Koehl was murdered and the man who killed her was buried with military honors. It was a mistake and it will take a new federal law to undo it.
Indiana’s U.S. Senators, Republican Dan Coats and Democrat Joe Donnelly, co-sponsored a bill that is named after Alicia Koehl. It was introduced in a Senate committee on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon. Alicia Koehl’s mother-in-law and father-in-law were there.
In May of 2012 there was a mass shooting at an Indianapolis apartment complex. Alicia Koehl, a wife and mother, was shot and killed. Senator Dan Coats took her story to a Senate committee. It’s because after her killer, Michael Anderson, committed suicide he was given full military honors and buried in this military cemetary in Michigan.
The burial was against the law. “The family either did not give all the information,” widower Paul Koehl told News 8 in October of 2012, “or they just lied about the information.”
But when Paul Koehl learned of the burial and sought to have the body exhumed, he found that Veterans Administration policy stood in the way. “I’m extremely upset by the fact that he’s been buried there,” he said.
And so now, more than a year later, the Senate is being asked to pass the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemetaries Act.
“This process has gone on too long,” Sen. Coats told the committee. “It’s been difficult to get to this point.” He went on to say “The family is simply asking for closure and peace of mind that those remains be disinterred.”
Michael Anderson’s family could then determine where a new burial would take place.
Senator Coats worked with the Veterans Administration in drafting the bill. He asked for expedited treatment so that the Koehl family can give up its fight yet this year. Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders promised that the committee will take a very hard look at it.