Vets Protest Wife-Killer's Burial in National Cemetery

Raymond Sawyer died while serving sentence
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2010 8:17 AM CDT
US flags flutter in the wind at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Sheridan, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Newser) – A WWII veteran is scheduled to be buried in Denver's Fort Logan National Cemetery today, and plenty of people aren't happy about it. That's because former Marine Raymond R. Sawyer died in an Arizona state prison on Aug. 11, reports the AP, where he was serving a 13-year sentence for second-degree murder. Sawyer's wife, Frances, was found strangled in 1981, and the case sat cold for 26 years. In 2007, Sawyer gave a fresh interview, during which he "broke down" and revealed details only the killer would have known.

Though he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison the next year, the only crime that bars a vet from being buried in a national cemetery is a capital crime, which his was not. "It disgraces the Marine Corps and it dishonors the Marine Corps," says a former Marine who is part of a color guard that carries flags at interment services; they've refused to participate in Sawyer's burial. Sawyer's daughter would just like everyone to butt out: "It's not the public's decision. Other people should mind their own business."

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