Last Of Three Monee Cemetery Vandals Gets Jail, Probation

Published April 3, 2014 by admin in Cemetery, News

Last Of Three Monee Cemetery Vandals Gets Jail, Probation

Third St. Paul Cemetery vandal gets 68 days in jail, three
years probation and $4,183 in fines


Karen Haave  /  April 3, 2014

ST. PAUL CEMETERY in Monee sustained an estimated $100,000 worth of damage at the
hands of three vandals in November 2012. The last of the three was sentenced on March 10 to 68
days in jail, three years of probation and more than $4,000 in fines, including $1,500 in

— photo by Karen Haave

The last of three males charged in the 2012 vandalism at St. Paul Cemetery in Monee has
pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 68 days in jail.

Justin C. Qunell, 19, of the 5400 block of West Orchard Trail in Monee, also was placed on 36
months of probation on March 10 after pleading guilty to vandalizing headstones and grave
markers in the churchyard cemetery on Margaret Street.

Qunell was arrested 10 months ago.

Church officials said last week that they have learned that he will spend 34 days in jail (68 days
minus time already served), with three years probation and $4,183 in fines: $633 court costs,
$1,800 probation fee, $1,500 restitution and a $250 in DNA Administration fee.

The meager restitution fee does not begin to cover the more than $100,000 worth of damage to
the 160-year- old cemetery.

Ornate century-old headstones were toppled, in-ground grave markers were broken or
overturned, metal braces bent, and flowers strewn about the churchyard.

According to the Will County Historical Preservation Society, St. Paul Cemetery holds the
distinction of having the oldest headstone in Will County.

A month after the vandalism, volunteer crews righted the toppled monuments and, using a
special industrial cement, glued the broken ones back together.

A $2,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrests and conviction of those
responsible for the damages. It will not be paid because the break in the case came from
information provided by one of the perpetrators.

The two other people involved in the incident were an underage teen, who was not identified,
and Peotone resident Thomas W. Nicholls, 26, of the 29800 block of Illinois Route 50.

Nicholls, who pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, already is serving a 30-month sentence at Stateville
Correctional Center. He also is required to pay $400 in court costs.

Church officials said Monee Police told them Nicholls had a long record and that was why he
was sentenced to such a long period of time. Nicholls previously served a five-year sentence on a
burglary charge in Johnson County and had been sentenced to 90 days in jail on a domestic-
battery conviction when he was arrested on the property-damage charge.

The juvenile involved in the vandalism was sentenced to 200 hours of community service. The
court will administer the community service so that church officials will not need to be involved.
The young teen also was assessed fines in the amount of $37.

Vandals also struck the cemetery in 2011, damaging 11 headstones. Those responsible have not
been apprehended.

St. Paul United Church of Christ, which oversees the cemetery, is considering installation of a
security system.

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