Man Fights to Keep Wife's Body in Front Yard

James Davis faces off against Alabama health officials
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2012 5:27 PM CDT
In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, photo, James Davis, 73, stands over the grave of his wife, Patsy, in the front yard of the home they shared in Stevenson, Ala.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

(Newser) – James Davis promised his wife he would bury her at home, and that's exactly what he did. Only problem: A county judge in Alabama has ordered her body moved from her grave site in Davis' front yard, the AP reports. "Good Lord, they've raised pigs in their yard, there's horses out the road here ... they've got other grave sites here all over the place," says Davis, 73. "And there shouldn't have been a problem."

So he's appealing in Alabama civil court. Against him are health officials in the town of Stevenson—population 2,600—who worry that others will follow suit, damaging property values and raising issues about long-term care. On the other hand, northeast Alabama has a strong libertarian streak, and Davis has no plans to back down. "If they get it done it'll be after I'm gone," he says. "So if they order her to be moved, it's a death sentence to me. I'll meet Mama sooner than I planned on it." (Read more graves stories.)

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