August 7, 2002
Military funeral moved
By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Copley Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON — A law enacted to keep executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh from being buried in a national
military cemetery also could prevent the interment of Sgt. 1st Class Brandon S. Floyd in Arlington National Cemetery.
Investigators say their preliminary findings indicate that Floyd, who served with the Army’s elite Special Operations at Fort Bragg, N.C., killed his wife, Andrea Zeigler Floyd, before killing himself. Zeigler Floyd was a graduate of Marlington High School.
The two, who are survived by three young children, are among the victims of a string of domestic murders that have rocked the Army post.
Floyd, who served in Afghanistan, is being buried later this week in the Tucson area in Arizona, according to family and Army sources. Floyd’s parents have a home in Tucson. His family originally requested that he be interred in Arlington, an honor that primarily is reserved for active and retired military.
The Army delayed the burial pending the results of an investigation into the apparent murder-suicide.
Leroy Zeigler, the father of Zeigler Floyd, expressed relief that Floyd will not be buried in Arlington.
“They’re not going to bury him in Arlington, and that’s all I wanted out of the whole deal and trying to make sure that
stuff like this doesn’t ever happen to anybody else’s daughter,” Zeigler said.
Zeigler Floyd’s mother, Penny Flitcraft, had no comment on Floyd’s burial.
“My biggest thing is to get the Army to open up their dang eyes to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore,” she said of the killings.
A 1997 law, often referred to as the “McVeigh Act,” allows a person to be barred from burial at a national cemetery if convicted of a serious crime such as murder where the penalty is execution or life in prison without parole.
In cases where a person is dead before possible conviction, he or she can be barred “based upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence, after an opportunity for a hearing in a manner prescribed by the appropriate federal office.”
The Army delayed the burial in Arlington after it had been announced in an obituary in a Fayetteville, N.C., newspaper.
“Given the situation that is under review at Bragg, we the Army have to be mindful of the implications of doing an
interment hastily before the investigation’s complete,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Yantis, an Army spokesman. “While there’s an investigation on, we can’t move forward.”
Officials found the bodies of the couple in their Stedman, N.C., home July 19.
Cumberland County sheriff’s investigators believe Floyd, using a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun, first shot his wife
and then himself. The sheriff’s office is leading a joint investigation with the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Investigators are awaiting the results of lab tests on evidence and the final autopsy reports, which are not expected for at least two months.
Sheriff’s Lt. Sam Pennica, who heads the homicide division within the agency, expects the lab results to confirm the initial findings.
“We don’t anticipate anything that will come back will change what we found,” he said. “It will just confirm everything with scientific evidence.”