In Dispute Between Wives, Court Sides With Third

Appeals court upholds claim to body of deceased ex-sergeant
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2007 9:29 PM CDT
A judge has determined that the third, and not first, wife of a retired Army sergeant was his legal wife at the time of his passing.   (Index Open)
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(Newser) – The North Carolina state appeals court affirmed yesterday that the body of a retired Army sergeant belongs to his third wife, though he left her five years before his death in 2005 to return to his first wife. John Burrell never divorced Valerie Burrell after he returned to Hazelene Burrell; Valerie had Burrell buried in 2006 following a lower-court ruling.

Judges dismissed Hazelene Burrell’s assertions that her 1969 divorce from Burrell had never been finalized, pointing to a document listing her as “an unmarried woman.” Said Valerie Burrell's lawyer, "It's a shame that they had to go through all of this." Burrell's second wife, whom he divorced in 1989, had no part in the proceedings, the AP reported.