Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First Of Two Cemetery Vandals Sentenced

The first of two Smithfield teenagers accused of vandalizing dozens of tombstones in Sunset Cemetery in Smithfield in March 2006 has been sentenced. Justin Travis Byrd pled to 25 misdemeanor counts of vandalizing grave markers and two additional felony counts of vandalizing grave markers. In return for his plea, Byrd was given deferred prosecution, meaning if he completions several conditions set by a judge, prosecutors will voluntarily dismiss the charges in 24 months. The conditions include: performing 300 hours of community service work, remain on probation, not violate any laws during that time, and pay $15,000 in restitution. Byrd has already paid the restitution for the damages to the tombstones. A co-defendant, John Weldon Taylor, is still awaiting trial. Sunset Cemetery is where film star Ava Gardner is buried, however, her grave marker was not damaged.


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