Local News

3 Teens Arrested in Cemetery Vandalism

Posted May 6, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— May 7, 1996, 8:07 a.m.EDT

Three Johnston County teenagers have been arrested in the vandalism of two local church graveyards. They said they had nothing better to do.

Two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old have been charged with defacing gravesites, which in this case is a felony since the damages exceeded $1,000. With no other criminal histories, they could expect to be sentenced to community service and probation, according to District Attorney Tom Lock.

Branch Chapel Free Will Baptist Church and Fairview Presbyterian Church were the objects of the damage, which was discovered April 27. Seventy-eight headstones were pushed over or broken at Branch Chapel, and 6 more damaged at Fairview. Branch Chapel dates to the 1800s and many of its current members have family buried there.

The perpetrators were identified as James Allen Rynearson of Clayton and Brian Wade Jones of Selma. The 15-year-old's identity is withheld due to his age. He was released to the custody of his parents. The older boys were released from Johnston County jail on $10,000 bond each.

Branch Chapel member Johnny Bailey said his fellow congregants are relieved the arrests have been made, but not satisfied.

"You can't get any satisfaction out of that," he said. "It's just a sad situation, especially when these fellows were just looking for something to do.