COLUMBIA - The planned military burial for a former Marine was halted Monday as veterans' cemetery officials learned the Edgefield man was involved in a double murder-suicide.
Robert Herring, who authorities said shot his wife and stepdaughter last week at their home on Pickens Street before turning the gun on himself, was scheduled to be buried at Beaufort National Cemetery at noon Monday. But rules governing military burials say a person who has been convicted of a capital crime -- or who has evaded conviction by death or escape -- is not eligible for burial at a veterans' cemetery.
"Any veteran who is honorably discharged and has done one to two years of active duty is eligible for burial in a national cemetery," said Beaufort National Cemetery Director Bernie Bowse, who confirmed burial plans were on hold Monday. "But if there's a capital crime, that presents a whole different set of circumstances under which to look at the eligibility issue."
Mr. Herring, 44, dropped off three of his stepchildren at school Oct. 30 before returning home and shooting their mother, 34-year-old Leslie Arangilan, and her daughter, 17-year-old Jade Arangilan, before killing himself, police said.
A Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol was found near Herring's body, Edgefield Police Chief Ronnie Carter said.
Chief Carter said Monday he had sent reports to cemetery officials, who will review them before making a final decision on Mr. Herring's burial.
"We've put the burial on hold, just so that our regional council can confirm the facts of the case," Mr. Bowse said.
About 225 people attended funeral services for Mr. Herring on Sunday, according to Walker Posey, the funeral director at the Stephen D. Posey Funeral Home in North Augusta.
If Mr. Herring doesn't receive a veterans' cemetery plot, he will be buried in the North Augusta area, Mr. Posey said.
Mr. Herring's obituary did not say how long served in the military.