The remains of a Vietnam War veteran convicted of killing a Maryland couple would have to be removed from Arlington National Cemetery under a bill passed by the Senate last week after the couple’s outraged son complained that murderers don’t deserve such a revered military honor, reports the Washington Post. Russell W. Wagner, a former Army private, died last year while serving two life sentences in the fatal stabbings. His ashes were inurned during a ceremony with military honors, including a bugler playing taps and soldiers firing a salute.
“That’s a very honorable place to go, and to call him an honorable man was wrong,” said Vernon G. Davis, the couple’s son, who lives in Hagerstown, Md. “He carried his honorable discharge in one hand and a knife in the other.” The bill requiring the removal of Wagner’s remains follows action by Congress last year that tightened restrictions on interring veterans convicted of any offense for which the death penalty or life imprisonment could be imposed.