Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 7, 2013

Carter man sentenced for grave marker theft

GRAYSON — A Carter County man was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for stealing markers from the graves of World War II veterans and attempting to sell them for scrap.

Derrick K. Hales 26, of Hitchins, pleaded guilty last month to four counts of violating graves. The charges were all Class D felonies, each carrying a one- to five-year prison sentence.

At his sentencing, Hale was brief and contrite in his responses to questions from Carter Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips and made no comments on his own behalf before the sentence was pronounced.

“In my eyes this is a very heinous crime. I think that the offer needed to be where it’s at to discourage this type of thing from happening again,” Carter Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Ison said.

Retired U.S. Army CSM Robert Kahl was the first of several veterans who directly addressed Hale during the hearing.

“I don’t know where you ever got the thought in your mind to do something like this. I’ve served in the honor guard and seen those families mourn and now you’ve caused them to mourn again,” he said.

“I hope that you never have the privilege of being buried in a marked grave so nobody will know where you lie,” said John Sellers, a Navy veteran and the grandson of local aviation pioneer Matthew Sellers.

“Violating anyone’s grave is a horrible thing, but the ironic part of all this is that you violated the graves of men who fought and died so that you could have the right to a trial by jury,” Phillips said. “I’ve dealt with you a lot, and I know you can do better than this. I hope that you’ll use this time in custody to better yourself.”

Under state sentencing guidelines, Hale will be eligible for parole after serving three years of his sentence, so long as the sentencing guidelines in his other convictions aren’t in conflict with parole eligibility requirements.

The grave-violation charges stemmed the theft of four brass and bronze plaques from the graves of veterans buried in Hill Crest Burial Park behind the Kentucky Christian University campus.

According to the Grayson Police Department, KCU, which maintains the cemetery, reported Dec. 21, 2011, there were two markers missing. Detective Roy Ison launched an investigation, and, through various interviews, Hale emerged as a suspect.

Police were able to confirm Hale did have some grave markers in his possession and tried to sell them at a local recycling center. The recycling center refused to buy the markers, and workers there made a copy of Hale’s identification card and contacted the police.

While the initial report was two markers were stolen, police subsequently learned there were four of them missing. The plaques were recovered.

The plaques were valued at $750 each and owned by the U.S. government.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • newwendy1.jpg Ashland woman develops pregnancy journals for mom, dad

    An Ashland woman has a way of helping parents everywhere.
    Wendy Sparks, 47, wrote The journals, which are for parents to keep for themselves and their children during pregnancy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420eggs0051.jpg Acres and acres of eggs

    A dozen volunteers spent the morning Saturday scattering more than 6,000 plastic eggs around the Greenup County Farm Bureau’s 10-acre field Saturday morning.
     

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Volunteers to pack thousands of meals for hungry Haitians

    Members of the First Baptist Church in Grayson are planning for the third year in a row to pack thousands of meals for starving people in Haiti, and they need help to do it.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Sheriff candidates ready for election

    With no incumbent in the Boyd County Sheriff’s race, Republican and Democrat candidates for the post will square off in their respective primaries next month.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo