The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 19, 2012

UPDATE: Cemetery suspect posts bond

By Kim West

ATHENS — The man accused of vandalizing Hatchett Cemetery has been released on a $75,000 secure bond through a local bonding company.

Robert Allen Muse, 21, of Falkville, was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal mischief for allegedly vandalizing the cemetery on three separate occasions in successive weeks in November.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department said Muse was released from custody at the Limestone County Jail at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday. He had been in custody since being arrested in late November.

A $150,000 cash-only bail was initially set for Muse, but in a bail-reduction hearing Wednesday morning, Limestone County District Judge Jerry Batts lowered the bail to $75,000 — or $25,000 for each count — citing the absence of a violent crime, no prior criminal record and minimal flight risk, among other reasons.

Batts stipulated that Muse must adhere to an 8 p.m. curfew, turn his motorcycle over to his father and refrain from entering the county unless he has a court appearance or a meeting with his court-appointed attorney, Garry Clem of Athens.

Batts also informed Muse’s father that he is expected to immediately report a curfew violation, which would automatically result in revocation of his son’s bond.

Muse, who was riding a motorcycle, was pulled over on a traffic stop near the cemetery by a sheriff’s deputy Nov. 22. A person believed to be Muse was photographed by Sheriff’s Department surveillance cameras Nov. 23.

About 20 members of Little Ezekiel Missionary Baptist Church attended the 15-minute hearing. The church maintains Hatchett Cemetery, which is located in Beulah Land community in southern Limestone County.