19-year-old Pleads Guilty to Vandalizing Historic Hamilton County Cemetery

      Robert Kelly Jr.

      A sentencing date has been set for a 19-year-old Saronville man who has pleaded guilty to vandalizing dozens of gravestones at the historic Farmers Valley Cemetery in Hamilton County in August.

      A trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday for Robert Kelly Jr., but he instead pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief causing damage of $1,500 or more.

      Officials say 44 gravestones at Farmers Valley Cemetery were destroyed and toppled August 19.

      Repairs for the stones were estimated at upwards of $40,000. And many were damaged beyond repair.

      The cemetery was established in 1876 along the banks of the Big Blue River south-southwest of Henderson. It is the final resting place for many Hamilton County pioneers, including Civil War veterans and former Nebraska State Senator Perry Reed.

      Kelly's sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 24.