Crystal Denn was shocked to discover that her mother's murderer had been buried with her in Ohio's Brookdale Cemetry. Denn's mother, Mary Dallas, was the victim of a brutal 1993 beating by her husband Marvin Dallas. Last month, Marvin Dallas's cremated remains were buried over his wife's grave.
According to The Chronicle-Telegram, Denn is now working to have her mother's killer's remains removed from the grave. "Why does it make sense to bury a killer with his victim?" Denn said.
Denn said she first noticed a small patch of overturned earth atop her mother's grave a few months ago. She dismissed her findings until she saw a similar overturned patch on another grave in May she knew contained cremains.
The Chronicle-Telegram reported Denn inquired about her suspicions with the cemetery's office and discovered Marvin Dallas had been buried by her mother after dying on 1 January at the age of 60.
Dallas had pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the murder and was spent 12 years in prison. He was released from prison in 2005, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Elyria safety service director Mary Siwierka told the Chronicle-Telegram that the city did not decide where Dallas was to be buried. The decision was, instead, made by his family.
"As a matter of course, husbands and wives, if that's their wishes, are buried together," she said.
Meanwhile, Elyria law director Scott Serazin said that he and the funeral home were unaware that Marvin Dallas had been convicted in his wife's beating death.
Mary Dallas died on 7 February 1993 at a domestic violence shelter called Genesis House when she was 33 years old and her daughter was 14. According to court records, Marvin became angry towards his wife on 5 February, accusing her of stealing his wallet and about $700 (£450).
'We want to make it right'
Then-Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in court documents that Marvin "repeatedly struck her and manhandled her in such a manner that she was thrown up against some object". The beating caused internal injuries which led Mary to bleed to death, the Chronicle-Telegram reported.
Siwierka told the Ohio newspaper that the funeral home was attempting to work with Marvin Dallas's family to have his cremains removed. The city was even willing to waive the $650 fee it charged to disinter remains.
"We want to make it right with everybody involved," she said.
However, Marvin Dallas's family does not want to move his remains. His sister Shirley Hill told reporters, "We're not going to move his ashes. That's where he wanted to be buried." She said she and her family would consider hiring a lawyer to fight the motion.
Unfortunately for his family, the plot Mary Dallas is buried in is owned by her brother David Ivey. If Ivey decides to have him moved, the city will be forced to comply.
"If it's up to me, I don't want him buried there. Nobody ever consulted me," he said. "He has no right to be buried with her."