A-19080, JULY 11, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 27

A-19080: Jul 11, 1927

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VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT - BENEFICIARIES THE WIFE OF A DECEASED VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR WHO WAS INDICTED FOR KILLING THE VETERAN. WAS SENTENCED. IS NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ANY PAYMENTS UNDER THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE. NOTWITHSTANDING SHE WAS THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY THEREUNDER. AN AFFIDAVIT BY THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY PURPORTING TO SHOW THAT THE KILLING WAS IN SELF-DEFENSE CAN NOT BE ACCEPTED TO DISCREDIT THE COURT PROCEEDINGS. WAS INDICTED. THE QUESTION IS PRESENTED IN THE CASE OF DAVID J. WHOSE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY WAS HIS WIFE. THE VETERAN WAS FATALLY SHOT AND IN CONNECTION THEREWITH HIS WIFE WAS. SHE ENTERED A PLEA OF "NOT GUILTY" AND HER BOND WAS FIXED AT $5.

A-19080, JULY 11, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 27

VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT - BENEFICIARIES THE WIFE OF A DECEASED VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR WHO WAS INDICTED FOR KILLING THE VETERAN, ARRAIGNED, PLEAD GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER, WAS SENTENCED, AND THEN PAROLED, IS NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ANY PAYMENTS UNDER THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE, NOTWITHSTANDING SHE WAS THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY THEREUNDER. AN AFFIDAVIT BY THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY PURPORTING TO SHOW THAT THE KILLING WAS IN SELF-DEFENSE CAN NOT BE ACCEPTED TO DISCREDIT THE COURT PROCEEDINGS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JULY 11, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 1, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE AMOUNT OF AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE MAY BE PAID TO THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY, THE WIFE OF THE VETERAN, WHO, AFTER BEING CHARGED WITH TAKING THE LIFE OF THE VETERAN, WAS INDICTED, ARRAIGNED, AND PERMITTED TO PLEAD GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER, SENTENCED TO THE REFORMATORY, AND IMMEDIATELY PAROLED.

THE QUESTION IS PRESENTED IN THE CASE OF DAVID J. FREEMAN, XC 662999, WHOSE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY WAS HIS WIFE, CARRIE FREEMAN. ON JUNE 1, 1926, THE VETERAN WAS FATALLY SHOT AND IN CONNECTION THEREWITH HIS WIFE WAS, ON JULY 2, INDICTED ON A CHARGE OF MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE. JULY 7, 1926, SHE ENTERED A PLEA OF "NOT GUILTY" AND HER BOND WAS FIXED AT $5,000. NOVEMBER 17, 1926, THE COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL FOR HER DEFENSE AND ON DECEMBER 1, 1926, SHE WAS REARRAIGNED AND HER PLEA CHANGED TO A PLEA OF GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER. SHE WAS SENTENCED TO THE OHIO STATE REFORMATORY AND AT ONCE PAROLED. NOTWITHSTANDING THESE COURT PROCEEDINGS, THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, UNDER DATE OF MARCH 28, 1927, MAKES AFFIDAVIT THAT THE EVIDENCE THEN IN HAND PROVED CONCLUSIVELY THAT THE KILLING WAS IN SELF-DEFENSE, THAT THE WIFE HAD AN EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD REPUTATION IN THE COMMUNITY, AND THAT THE HUSBAND HAD BEEN IN THE HABIT OF COMING HOME INTOXICATED AND OF BEATING AND ABUSING HIS WIFE.

IN DECISION OF MAY 29, 1926, A-13608, IT WAS HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT PAYMENT UNDER AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY CONVICTED OF FELONIOUSLY KILLING THE VETERAN. THE BENEFICIARY IN THAT CASE WAS THE WIFE OF THE VETERAN WHO WAS INDICTED, TRIED, AND CONVICTED OF VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, BUT SENTENCE WAS SUSPENDED. THE FACTS IN THE TWO CASES ARE VERY SIMILAR AND WHAT WAS STATED IN THAT DECISION IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE HERE. THE AFFIDAVIT BY THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY CAN NOT BE ACCEPTED TO DISCREDIT THE COURT RECORD. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT UPON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE COURT RECORD, PAYMENT UNDER THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE TO THE WIDOW OF THE VETERAN IS NOT AUTHORIZED.