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Court forces James Davis to exhume his wife’s body from his Ala. front yard

After a long legal dispute with the city of Stevenson, Ala., James Davis is having his wife Patsy’s remains exhumed from his front yard. He had buried her there in accordance with her wishes after her death in 2009. The couple had been married for 48 years.

Earlier this week, Davis agreed to hire a contractor to remove the body with the Jackson County sheriff standing by. Davis plans to have his wife’s remains cremated and will keep her ashes inside the house. He lost his case on appeal, and the state Supreme Court refused to hear it. “I thought if you were right, you won,” Davis told the Huntsville Times. “That ain’t the damn truth of it.” The city protested that the grave on one of Stevenson’s two main streets was illegal and would negatively affect the value of neighboring property.

Patsy’s tombstone will remain in place for the time being, although it is also forbidden by city ordinance. City attorney Parker Edmiston told the Associated Press that the tombstone was a separate issue to be addressed in the future.

Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. You can subscribe here. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.


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