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Defendant in grave thefts has trial date set
Charges were upgraded after she allegedly failed to report to jail
Carrie Thompson
Carrie Thompson

MONROE — The woman accused in connection with goods stolen from gravesites across the region may go to trial on a felony after all.

Initially charged with 40 misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property, Thompson pleaded guilty to the five counts in late 2023 between the defendant and District Attorney Craig Nolen’s office that called for years of probation and community service.  

Though the cemetery thefts were numerous, no individual item met the state’s high, $2,500 threshold for felony theft. And so, the fact that she was only charged with misdemeanors left some victims of the crimes cold.

But — during a January sentencing hearing — Judge Thomas Vale, now retired, ultimately added a 60-day sentence on top of the prior agreement’s initial probation, restitution, and other requirements after hearing the emotional impact statements from victims that implored him to sentence Thompson to jail.

Victims of the crimes lauded the imposition of jail time for the defendant.

Then, she failed to show up to jail on the date required, resulting in the new felony charge for which she is now poised to stand trial. And in the ensuing months, more plea negotiations appear to have proven fruitless.

“There is no resolution and parties request setting a two-day jury trial,” said the court record from her May 17 appearance before Circuit Judge Jane Bucher.

Thompson, a 47-year-old mother of three, obtained the items from numerous cemeteries — or from people who took them — and re-sold them, mostly online. For a time, police set up a table in Monroe to display the items for identification by victims, while imploring area residents to check the graves of their loved ones for anything amiss.  

She has pleaded ‘not guilty’ the failure to appear for jail charge and is represented by council.

According to court records, an initial pool of 35 jurors will be contacted in pursuit of a 12-member jury with one alternate. It is scheduled for a final pre-trial date for Aug. 29, with a trial date of Sept. 19.

Prior to sentencing, the defendant’s attorney, and Thompson herself, addressed the court. The attorney, Jane Krueger Smith, said the defendant was not actually charged with going to graves and stealing the items — just receiving them and trying to sell them. And she said the relatives were “conflating” what amounted to low-dollar property crimes with the deep emotional impact of their deceased loved ones.

“She was and is profoundly sorry,” said Krueger Smith. “She did not understand the emotional impact of the (things) that were taken.”