A former Navy lieutenant’s body is set to be removed from Arlington National Cemetery, 30 years after his execution for the brutal murder of a female officer.
Former Lt. Andrew Chabrol was legally required to be disinterred from his above-ground burial by Sept. 30 by a provision tucked into this year’s military budget, which President Joe Biden signed into law in December, Navy Times reported.
Chabrol was executed via electric chair for the 1991 kidnap, rape and murder of Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa Harrington, who had reported him for sexual harassment. He blamed Harrington for ruining his career and marriage, and plotted his revenge in a journal detailing what he called “Operation Nemesis.”
The measure for his disinterment made it into the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act following a several-years-long veteran-led campaign, which was ignored and rebuffed by the cemetery and Pentagon before finding a sympathetic congresswoman, former Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), as previously reported by the Washington Post.
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Arlington National Cemetery’s media relations officer, John Harlow, told Navy Times that the disinterment would be scheduled after coordination with Chabrol’s living family. The removal of his body will not be open to the public, Harlow said.
“The disinterment of human remains is a private family matter and is handled in a dignified manner without ceremonial elements,” he said.
The NDAA requires Chabrol’s remains to be either given to a next of kin or disposed of “as the Secretary of the Army determines appropriate,” according to its full text.
Chabrol was able to successfully arrange for his Arlington burial because he had completed his service honorably, leaving the Navy without any authority to exclude him, Navy Times reported. Arlington burials “are considered final,” according to the cemetery’s website, and disinterments typically require “extraordinary circumstances.”
A previous version of the 2023 NDAA would have empowered the military to review other burials of veterans who committed capital crimes, but that was ultimately removed, Navy Times reported.