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FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, file photo, James Davis, 73, stands over the grave of his wife, Patsy, in the front yard of the home they shared in Stevenson, Ala. Jackson County Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 for Davis, who has been ordered to remove his wife's grave from the front yard. Topics should include how the removal will be done and a final deadline. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)
Alabama woman’s body removed from front yard grave
First Published Nov 15 2013 10:40 am • Last Updated Nov 15 2013 10:55 am

Stevenson, Ala. • As relatives wept, the body of an Alabama woman whose wish was to be buried in her front yard was removed Friday, after her husband lost a lengthy court fight to keep her there.

James Davis said he promised his wife, Patsy, that he would bury her outside their two-story log home in the northeast part of the state. After her death in April 2009, the Stevenson City Council rejected his request for a cemetery permit for his yard, but he buried her a few feet from the front porch anyway.

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The city sued and he eventually lost his legal battle. A judge this week approved a plan to remove the body.

One of Patsy Davis’ daughters burst into tears as the vault containing her body was lifted out of the ground. James Davis watched silently from a few feet away. Family members, the sheriff and a deputy also looked on.

Davis called the exhumation "a travesty."

"This never should have happened," said Davis, 74. "I broke no laws."

Neighbor Phyllis Matthews stood by and watched the vault containing the casket being raised.

"I’m sorry for the family, what they’re going through," Matthews said. "I lost my mother back in April. I’d hate to think it was my mother they were digging up. But she’s buried in a cemetery."

James Davis, who had been married to his wife for 48 years, said he now plans to cremate her remains and keep them in the house.




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