OCT. 2, 2013 —
Derrick Hale, 26, of Grayson, was officially sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday afternoon on four felony counts of violating graves.
Hale was brief and contrite in his responses to questions from Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips regarding his sentencing and made no comments on his behalf before judgment was rendered.
“In my eyes this is a very heinous crime. I think that the offer needed to be where it’s at to discourage this type of thing from happening again,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Ison.
Army CSM Robert Kahl (Ret.) was the first of a group of veterans to directly address Hale during the hearing.
“I don’t know where you ever got the thought in your mind to do something like this. I’ve served in the honor guard and seen those families mourn and now you’ve caused them to mourn again.”
“I hope that you never have the privilege of being buried in a marked grave so nobody will know where you lie,” said John Sellers, a Navy veteran and the grandson of local aviation pioneer Matthew Sellers.
“Violating anyone’s grave is a horrible thing, but the ironic part of all this is that you violated the graves of men who fought and died so that you could have the right to a trial by jury,” said Phillips during sentencing.
“I’ve dealt with you a lot, and I know you can do better than this. I hope that you’ll use this time in custody to better yourself,” she said.
Hale will be eligible for parole on these convictions after completing three years of his sentence, so long as the sentencing guidelines in his other convictions aren’t in conflict with parole eligibility requirements.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.