Man guilty in theft at cemetery
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Dec 18, 2013, 12:48
CHESTERFIELD — One of two men accused of stealing bronze vases from a cemetery pleaded no contest to one charge Tuesday and was sentenced to three months in jail.
In a plea deal with prosecutors, Kenneth Lamar Jones, 45, of the 800 block of North Avenue, Richmond, pleaded no contest to grand larceny while charges of conspiracy to commit larceny and larceny with intent to sell/distribute were nolle prossed, or set aside.
About 168 bronze vases were stolen from Dale Memorial Park, west of Chester, on May 21 or 22. But Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Ken Nichols said the vases were taken from a maintenance facility, not from grave sites. He said they were scrap vases that had been cracked or damaged.
Appearing in Chesterfield Circuit Court in a dark green jail jumpsuit, Jones said little other than answering yes to brief questions and thanking his defense attorney.
As recommended by the plea deal, Judge Steven McCallum sentenced Jones to five years in prison with four years and nine months of that time suspended for 10 years. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison for the charge.
With time spent in jail while awaiting trial, he has already served his time. However Jones is set to be extradited this week to face charges in Maryland for an incident in 2010.
Jones was also on probation or parole during the time of his arrest and could serve time from an older case if a judge decides to show cause.
He will also be under indefinite supervised probation until a probation officer decides it is no longer necessary.
Jones also was ordered to pay restitution to Dale Memorial Park in the amount of $1,007.10, half of the money that was received from a recycling center for the scrap metal.
Nichols said the vases were taken to Rose Time Scrap Metal & Recycling in Staunton where the two defendants received just over $2,000 for the 1,400 pounds of bronze.
Co-defendant Van Terry Maurice Fields, of Richmond, has a court date set for today in the case.
Jones and Fields were arrested in relation to a similar theft and were ultimately tied to this theft, according to police.
Fields also is facing charges of grand larceny and entering property to damage in Henrico. He was arrested July 10 with an offense date listed as Jan. 29, according to online court records.
The thefts at Dale Memorial Park, which is located near Pocahontas State Park, came at the same time as numerous other cemetery vase thefts in the area.
On May 21, Southlawn Memorial Park, located at 1819 Birdsong Road, Prince George, reported 28 metal cemetery vases stolen from gravesites.
On May 22, Merchant Hope Memorial Gardens Cemetery, located at 11302 Merchants Hope Road, Prince George, reported 80 bronze cemetery vases stolen from gravesites. Several cemeteries near Interstate 95 in Chesterfield and Henrico were also hit during the same time period, according to Hopewell-Prince George Crime Solvers.