ATHENS, Ohio – A woman accused of digging up her ex-boyfriend's grave and stealing his ashes pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony vandalism, prosecutors said.
Martha LaFollete, 48, lived with Roger Barber in Roseville for five years until his death last November, said Athens County sheriff's Lt. Darrell Cogar. Police speculate she may have stolen Barber's ashes because she wasn't invited to his funeral.
The grave was dug up in June, but the theft wasn't discovered until about two weeks later, authorities said. Police found Barber's ashes several weeks ago at a home belonging to one of LaFollete's relatives, Athens County prosecutor David Warren said.
"I have a category of crimes that I like to refer to as 'aggravated stupid,"' Warren said. "I have been doing this for almost 30 years now and I have never had anyone steal someone's ashes."
A trial was scheduled for January, Warren said. If convicted, LaFollete faces a maximum of one year in prison and a $2,500 fine, he said.
Myca Haynes, who represented LaFollete at Wednesday's arraignment, declined to comment.
Barber's teenage daughter, Sierra Barber, said she's planning to rebury her father's remains at the family plot in New Marshfield Cemetery once LaFollete's trial is over.
"I have to bury my dad and go through it, all over again," she said. "My dad's in an evidence locker. They say 'rest in peace' for a reason."