After six months, countless hours of investigations and argument by Texas County Prosecuting Attorney Parke Stevens Jr., Judge John D. Beger has sentenced a Houston man to seven years in prison for his role in a series of thefts from Texas County cemeteries between April 1 and June 1 this year.

William T. Hebert, 30, of 611 Hawthorn St. in Houston, received the maximum sentence authorized by law after pleading guilty in September for defacing and selling cemetery memorials local resident had placed next to graves of their deceased loved ones.

“The defendant likely thought he could get probation.” Stevens said.

Hebert requested and received a sentencing assessment report which allowed the many victims to express their feelings without having to do so in open court.

After an investigation by the Texas County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from other local law enforcement, a probable cause statement and evidence was submitted to Stevens for review. 

Based on that evidence, Stevens filed a criminal complaint and requested a warrant for Hebert’s arrest.

“This man knowingly tampered with and stole cherished belongings family members left for deceased loved ones, then sold those items for pennies,” Stevens said. 

Beger, circuit judge of the 25th Circuit, presided over the case and assessed punishment after consideration of all the factors.

“Your actions leave me enflamed for what you have done, and I am only left with one course of action, to make you an example for others,” Beger said before sentencing Hebert.

Felicia Batchelor, 29, of Summersville, is charged with receiving stolen property as a result of the cemetery theft spree. A pre-trial hearing in her case is set for Jan. 17 at the Texas County Justice Center.

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