The fate of Fairview Memorial Park is under consideration by officials after the owner was sent to prison.
Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said Thursday that since Theodore Martin, the owner of Fairview Memorial Park, was taken into custody by federal authorities there is no one to take care of the cemetery. The prosecutor’s office is reviewing options for its future.
“When a cemetery becomes abandoned there are certain legal processes that can happen to keep it up and running,” O’Brien said. “We have to make sure the tombstones and headstones are kept appropriately. We’re going to do what we can do to keep the place up and running.”
O’Brien said the upkeep cost of the cemetery is the primary concern and she praised the group of volunteers who mowed and weeded the cemetery on Wednesday.
“It was wonderful of [them] to help,” O’Brien said. “We are trying to review all the options we can. It is not our obligation, necessarily, so what we are going to do is see what we can do in the eyes of the law to make sure this [is taken care of.]”
Martin and his wife, Arminda, are co-owners of the cemetery and have been charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft after prosecutors said the Martins were paid for items and services but never delivered them. Court records indicate there are 44 victims in this case.
However, before the Martins were indicted they were charged with federal tax evasion in Pennsylvania and each sentenced to serve a year in prison. But because the sentencing judge did not want the cemetery to fall into disrepair, Theodore’s sentence was postponed so he could operate the cemetery while Arminda served her one-year prison sentence.
O’Brien said that federal authorities found out that Theodore had used money from the cemetery’s account to post bond and took him into custody to begin serving his prison sentence.
Assistant Prosecutor Mark Sleeper said Thursday that Theodore being in prison will likely slow the case down because there is a great deal of work involved in bringing him to Delaware to stand trial.
Theodore is currently scheduled to stand trial on May 30 and face one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony and 51 counts of theft, 27 fourth-degree felonies, 21 fifth-degree felonies and three first-degree misdemeanors.
Theodore was indicted again on April 28 and charged with one count of theft, a fourth degree felony, for using money from the sale of a vault and two headstones to post bond.
Sleeper said this charge will likely be merged into the larger case.
Arminda was also indicted with Theodore on Feb. 24 and was charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; and 37 counts of theft, 17 fourth-degree felonies, 17 fifth-degree felonies, and three first-degree misdemeanors.
Krueger said that Theodore faces between two to eight years in prison for the second-degree felony; between six to 18 months in prison for the fourth-degree felonies and between six and 12 months in prison for the fifth-degree felonies.
An arraignment for Arminda has not been set in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.