LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 53-year-old Lufkin man who pried military markers off of gravestones and tried to sell them for scrap accepted a plea deal of 18 months in a state jail Wednesday for violating the conditions of his probation.
Jeffery Tyrone Shaw appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Courtroom for a probation revocation hearing.
"I reluctantly approve it," White said in court. "I don't want to make 10 people get up here and testify. Citizens are out there shaking their heads."
As part of the plea deal, Shaw pleaded guilty to a felony theft of property from a grave or human corpse charge and a misdemeanor theft charge. The deal requires him to serve 18 months in a state jail for the felony charge and nine months in the county jail for the misdemeanor charge. Shaw will serve the jail and prison terms concurrently, or at the same time.
"You will not get an early-release credit," White told Shaw. "You will serve day to day. I hope I don't see you anymore."
Shaw will also have to pay $60 in restitution to East Texas Scrap yards. He requested that he be allowed to pay the money out of his jail commissary account, and White said that Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches will have to approve that request.
The crime took place in 2009, and Shaw was sentenced to probation in 2010. He then broke the conditions of his probation in 2012.
Back when Shaw was arrested, Mark McLin, an investigator with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said that Shaw used a crowbar to pry the markers off of the gravestones.
McLin said they started the investigation after one of the scrap yards reported Shaw had tried to sell the bronze military markers there. They refused to let him and got pictures of him while he was at the business.
McLin said they began investigating and one of the other scrap yards managed to find one of the markers.
"It's terrible we have these guys that are serving in foreign wars risking their lives over there to keep us safe," McLin said.
When ACSO deputies arrested Shaw, he was originally charged with 11 counts of felony theft of property from a grave or human corpse. He was also charged with two misdemeanor theft between $500 and $1,500.
His bail amount has been set at 82,000 for three of the charges.