LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — A woman who told police she dug up her father’s grave in search of his “real will” but found only vodka and cigarettes pleaded guilty Monday.
Melanie Nash, 53, was one of four accused in the plan to open Eddie Nash’s vault in Colebrook, then rifle through his casket last May in a scene a prosecutor compared to an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Police said she felt she was shorted in her share of the inheritance after her father died in 2004. They didn’t find a will in the casket.
Nash, who faced trial in March, instead agreed to plead guilty to charges of criminal mischief, interference with a cemetery, conspiracy and abuse of a corpse. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 5.
Two others pleaded guilty; a third person was acquitted.
Nash told police she did not receive anything when her father died and had been thinking of digging up the grave for years to prove that her sister, Susie Nash, “hid the will.” Susie Nash has said there was only one will when her father’s estate plan was done in 1995 and everyone involved knew about it.
In a written statement to police last June, Melanie Nash wrote that she met up with the others to go to the cemetery.
She wrote: “All this was done for the right reasons and I know my father would be OK with it.”
She ended her statement with: “What we all did was to dig up my father’s coffin, Eddie Nash, looking for documents. We did it with respect.”
Her lawyer argued her statements were given before she was informed of her right against self-incrimination. But a judge ruled that she freely came to the police station after a warrant had been issued for her arrest and voluntarily gave her statements.
Eddie Nash, who died of a heart attack at 68, started an equipment business in 1979 still run by his family. He’s since been reburied.
After her sister pleaded guilty, Susie Nash told The Caledonian Record that she is relieved the case is at last resolved but that the effects will linger.
“It still leaves an impact on you,” she said. “Every time I visit the cemetery, I will be thinking of this.”
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