Accused Cemetery Vandals Appear in Court

CLEARFIELD – Two men accused of vandalizing a local cemetery were in court to answer for violating their probation on previous charges.

Darrin Robert Thompson, 26, of Clearfield, is charged with institutional vandalism cemetery, etc., intentional desecration of public monument, intentionally desecrating historic burial lot or place, criminal mischief, public drunkenness and two counts of selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors.

At the time of the new crime, he was on probation for recklessly endangering another person. Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman revoked his probation Thursday and sentenced him to five months to two years in state prison. He said he sent Thompson to state prison because this was Thompson’s third violation, and due to the extent of the damages to the cemetery and Thompson’s previous record.

Prior to sentencing, Thompson said he was sorry as he cried. He explained he has a new baby now and cannot believe how selfish he was being when he committed these crimes.

“I’m done with this whole crap,” he told Ammerman. He went on to say he’s had 80 days to think about everything and “to say it’s hard is an understatement.”

The charges stem from an incident in Clearfield Borough on Sept. 5 when Thompson, Heath Hemphill Jr. and Dylan Lee Cutler, allegedly damaged several gravestones at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Clearfield.

Hemphill, 20, 410 Shaw St., Clearfield, was given a county sentence for his probation violation because he cooperated with police, testified against Thompson in a preliminary hearing and his previous record is not as extensive as Thompson’s. Until he was detained on the new charges, he had never spent more than six days in jail, according to Ammerman.

“I have no problem giving him one final chance,” he stated.

Hemphill’s sentence is six months to one year in jail and two years consecutive probation from a 2012 criminal trespass case.

At the preliminary hearing in October, Hemphill said he, Thompson and Cutler were hanging out at Cutler’s home near the cemetery when Thompson suggested they get some beer. They traveled to St. Charles on Third Street in Clearfield where Thompson purchased two, 12 packs of Bud Light beer. Hemphill said they went back to Cutler’s house where they drank all of it. It was Thompson’s idea to go for a walk, Hemphill testified. They ended up at Hillcrest Cemetery where all three of them pushed over gravestones.

When asked whose idea this was, Hemphill answered that it was Thompson’s idea and explained it took all three of them to turn over the stones.

Hemphill said one fell onto Thompson’s right leg, which was bleeding. He and Cutler had to carry him out of the cemetery.

Cutler’s testimony was similar. He confirmed Thompson was the one who purchased the alcohol at St. Charles. They stopped in the cemetery; however, he testified that he didn’t remember whose idea it was to tip over the gravestones. Cutler admitted all three of them participated.

Cutler explained that Thompson was injured when one of the stones fell on his leg above the ankle. After Cutler was able to free Thompson, the stone fell on his leg. Hemphill then helped him move the stone off him. It was then they decided to leave because “we realized this was disrespectful,” Cutler said.

Hemphill and Cutler, 18, 110 High St., Clearfield, an inmate of the jail, are also charged with institutional vandalism cemetery, etc, intentional desecration of public monument, historic lots and burial places, criminal mischief, public drunkenness and purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages.

About the Author
  1. boptherabbit

    This type of crime doesn’t surprise me. We seem to have raised a generation that has no respect what-so-ever for life, so having no respect for the dead is a no-brainer. I may be looked at as an old “hippie”, but I think my “love one another” generation dropped the ball when it comes to raising our children. We let television and movies do it for us. We’re afraid to help our neighbors. We’ve lost our respect for the elderly and their knowledge. Trusting people, hell, we don’t even trust our own families. I guess destroying a cemetery is a natural. Had it been minors that committed this crime, our broken judicial system would have given them a lecture and sent them on their merry way. How can anyone learn right from wrong?

Leave a Reply