Barletta seeks to remove killer interred in vets’ cemetery

Rep. Barletta speaks with Jackie Katz of California, daughter of murder victim Bertie Smith (submitted)
Rep. Barletta speaks with Jackie Katz of California, daughter of murder victim Bertie Smith (submitted)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta wants Congress to pass a bill that would require the exhumation and removal of a constituent’s killer from a Pennsylvania military cemetery.

The Republican unveiled the legislation Tuesday at a news conference in Harrisburg.

Barletta’s spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, says a federal law passed in 2013 authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to disinter veterans who are found to have been convicted of murder.

But Murtaugh says it does not cover the constituent’s killer, who died in prison in 1999, 30 years after the murder.  Barletta’s bill would retroactively apply the 2013 statute and provide for the removal of the man’s remains from the veterans’ cemetery at Fort Indiantown Gap.

Murtaugh says the woman’s family has tried unsuccessfully to have his body removed.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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