Cemetery, Regulations

A killer among them

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Arlington National Cemetery is known as “hallowed ground”.  On May 13, 1864, the first burial of military personnel was completed there when Private William Christman was interred.  Just over a month later Arlington officially became a national cemetery on June 15, 1864, by order of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

In the 158 years since that first interment about over 400,000 of America’s finest and their eligible dependents have found their eternal resting place in Arlington National Cemetery —  including two presidents, William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.

In late June 2022, however, an amendment that received no objection was placed on the annual defense budget bill that would order Arlington National Cemetery to dis-inter one of those buried there since 1993.  The amendment authored by Rep. Jackie Speier of California directs the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs to remove the remains of Andrew J. Chabrol from the cemetery by September 30, 2023.

Chabrol was convicted and executed for the murder and rape of sailor Melissa Harrington in 1991.  According to this article from iHeart, Judy Farmer a navy veteran learned of the story in 2018 and has been actively working for Chabrol’s removal from the cemetery since.  Again according to the article, Farmer is “cautiously optimistic” about the amendment being included and going through the House and Senate process which would lead to the disinterment.

Farmer is quoted in the iHeart article with the following statement, (if he is removed from the cemetery) . . “then her friends that mourn her, and husband that mourns her, can know that [Chabrol] won’t get a flag every Memorial Day, he won’t get a wreath on Christmas. He won’t be honored.”

California Representative Speier said this, “. . .he has no place in that cemetery.”

*History of Arlington National Cemetery website.

*Chabrol executed — from the Roanoke Times. .. click here.

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