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Alabama man loses bid to keep wife buried in his front yard

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - An Alabama man lost his appeal on Friday to keep his wife buried in the front yard of the home they shared for decades.

The state's Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the remains of Patsy Davis, who died in 2009, be removed from the unusual grave in Stevenson, Alabama.

Jim Davis, 74, had vowed he would never remove his wife's body from the property. He also said the burial place was in keeping with his wife's last wishes.

"This grave site is my piece of America," Davis, a former Marine, told Reuters in a 2012 interview.

"I don't feel any different fighting for it than I felt about fighting for my country and I was willing to die for that."

Davis could not be reached for comment after Friday's ruling.

Stevenson City Council originally rejected Davis' request to bury his wife in the front yard, citing concerns over the perpetual care of the site. But Davis rented a backhoe, dug a grave and erected a monument anyway.

Family cemeteries are not unusual in rural Alabama, but Parker Edmiston, an attorney for the city of Stevenson, told local media the Davis grave could be relocated as early as next week.

(Reporting by Verna Gates; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)