Mikulski meets victims' son

August 10, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG - U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski said Wednesday that she is monitoring the progress of a bill under review by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs that mandates the removal of a convicted killer's ashes from Arlington National Cemetery.

Mikulski, D-Md., said she is "more than watching" the House bill, and that she is sending a letter to U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. She said it is now up to Bartlett to move the bill through the House.

Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that included an order to remove Russell Wayne Wagner's ashes from the cemetery.

Wagner was convicted of the 1994 murders of a Hagerstown couple and was serving two life sentences when he died of a heroin overdose in prison Feb. 7, 2005.


Mikulski met Wednesday afternoon with Vernon Davis, son of the slain couple.

"First of all, Arlington Cemetery is sacred ground. It should be burial ground for heroes, not those who perpetrate heinous capital crimes," Mikulski said.

Daniel Davis, 84, and his wife, Wilda Davis, 80, were repeatedly stabbed in their West Wilson Boulevard home.

Vernon Davis said Mikulski asked to meet with him while she was in Smithsburg for a library ribbon-cutting. The two talked about what happened in the Senate and "family" for about 20 minutes, he said.

Davis said Mikulski spoke to his granddaughters, Heather Davis, 15, and Megan Davis, 12 about government.

"She's going to be in touch with Bartlett, let us know what we need to do to contact Bartlett," Davis said.

Mikulski said she had no idea how long it would take the House committee to review the bill.

Getting the bill through the Senate went well, Davis said.

"She (Mikulski) handled it like a trouper. She was behind everything."

Davis said he thought it was only a matter of time until Wagner's ashes are removed from Arlington.

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