Kevin Maynard, 59, wants to plead guilty and I can understand why. He is charged with a crime that few jurors would not recoil at. He is a worker at the Rhode Island Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery and is accused of stealing more than 150 granite gravestones to pave the floor of his garage and shed.
Maynard is charged with felony theft of government property — a charge that does not seem to capture the enormity of his crime in dishonoring these veterans and possibly traumatizing family members disturbed by the thought of their loved one’s marker being used as flooring in a garage. However, this offense can come with a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and supervised release for three years.
Investigators say that they found the markers serving as flooring in makeshift garages and a shed at Maynard’s Charlestown, Rhode Island home. They also found a box of stolen flags.
Maynard may have justified the act as merely reusing such stones. Cracked or deteriorated stones are also replaced for free, and the damaged ones are stacked in an area at the cemetery until they can be hauled away to be destroyed. However, these grave markers remain government property. That creates an interesting couple of countervailing elements. On one hand, even the use of damaged tombstones for flooring dishonors the memory of these veterans. On the other hand, these stones would have been disposed of by the government. The mix of aggravating and mitigating factors will have to be balanced by the court at sentencing.
His lawyer has indicated that he will change his plea to guilty as soon as he goes before a federal judge.