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Alabama man fights to keep wife buried in front yard

Jay Reeves / AP

James Davis, 73, stands over the grave of his wife, Patsy, in the front yard of the home they shared in Stevenson, Ala. The city sued to make Davis move his wife's remains from the residential tract, and Davis is asking the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals to block an order requiring him to disinter her remains.

Davis, 73, said he never expected such a fight.

"Good Lord, they've raised pigs in their yard, there's horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they've got other gravesites here all over the place," said Davis. "And there shouldn't have been a problem."

While state health officials say family burial plots aren't uncommon in Alabama, city officials worry about the precedent set by allowing a grave on a residential lot on one of the main streets through town. They say state law gives the city some control over where people bury their loved ones and have cited concerns about long-term care, appearance, property values and the complaints of some neighbors.

-- Reported by the Associated Press

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Jay Reeves / AP

James Davis holds a photo of his late wife, Patsy Davis.