23-year-old man admits to vandalizing 75 tombstones, says he regrets it
WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WBMA) —
The suspect accused of vandalizing 75 tombstones in Walker County says he is deeply remorseful for his actions.
23-year-old Joshua Hicks is charged with Criminal mischief 1st degree, a class C felony, and desecration of a grave site, a class A misdemeanor.
“I wish I could take it back,” Hicks told ABC 33/40 in an exclusive interview. “The damage is done.”
Hicks knows what he did Friday in Mount Carmel Cemetery is unjustifiable.
“Got drunk, being stupid,” said Hicks. “Pushed over 75 tombstones. (why?) I don't know. Being heartless. I don't know, at that time, I thought it would be funny. I regret every bit of it.”
Hicks regrets pushing over tombstones of men like Mr. Staggs.
“He used to run a service station downtown, years ago,” explained Theodore Branch, who has lived in Cordova 80 years.
Branch called Staggs a nice man, and said looking at his knocked over tomb stone was “very sad.”
As Branch walked through Mount Carmel Cemetery, he said he knew most of the people buried, including members of the Carraway family, who Branch says owned a drugstore downtown.
“It's awful,” said Branch. “I just can't see where one person did all this.”
“I realize all the families I hurt,” said Hicks. “I just want to apologize to all of them.”
This isn't Hicks' first act of vandalism. Cordova Police Chief Nick Smith says he vandalized a park about a month ago.
“In his initial statement he stated that when he drinks and gets drunk, he gets bored and goes out and likes to vandalize things,” said Hicks.
“Knowing that this happened a second time, what are you going to do in the future? Do you plan to vandalize something else?” ABC 33/40 asked Hicks.
“No,” replied Hicks. “[I plan to] get help with drinking, so I can quit.”
Hicks said he wants to help repair the tombstones he knocked down.
A company out of Jasper, Patterson Monument, is also volunteering to help rebuild.
Chief Smith believes a second man helped Hicks with the vandalism, based on Hicks’ text messages. The second suspect is not yet in custody.