Man Finally Agrees to Dig Wife's Body Up From Yard

But after 4 years, the fight still may not be over

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 23, 2013 10:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Alabama man who has been fighting local government since 2009 for the right to keep his wife's grave in his front yard has finally backed down: He has said he will dig up her body and have it cremated, so long as he can put the ashes back in the grave, the New York Times reports. James Davis' compromise comes after four years of legal battles with the city of Stevenson. After he was defeated in the state's court of civil appeals, the case made it all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court, which earlier this month declined to take up the case, the Huntsville Times reports.

Davis, 74, who buried his wife of 48 years in the yard at her request, says she had been afraid of cremation, but thinks enough time has passed. "If she saw herself as she is now, I know she would not mind," he tells the New York Times. A city attorney says there's no law against having a tombstone or ashes in your front garden, but says the coffin and the vault Davis installed for it will have to go. But Davis' lawyer says that isn't happening. "The court's order is for the remains to be removed, but Mr. Davis does not intend to remove the headstone or the cement vault and the casket will remain," he says, per the Huntsville Times. So perhaps the fight will live on...

James Davis, 73, stands over the grave of his wife, Patsy, in the front yard of the home they shared in Stevenson, Ala.
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, File)
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