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Cemetery owner enters plea in dumping case

SOUTH POINT — The owner of a prominent cemetery in the eastern end of Lawrence County has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of open dumping.

Larry Carter, owner of Highland Memorial Gardens in South Point, made his plea in an arraignment Wednesday morning before Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling.

Carter was indicted last month by a Lawrence County grand jury after a criminal affidavit was filed this spring by Steve Hileman of the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District. In that document Hileman said Carter “did knowingly dispose of solid waste (plastic flowers) and other miscellaneous debris by throwing over the east hillside off 198 Pvt Rd 1336 (Highland Memorial) in violation of the ORC 3734.03 Open Dumping.”

This is the second time in five years authorities have accused Carter of open dumping violations in connection with the cemetery.

In 2005, a similar complaint was issued against Carter after an inspection from Clint Shuff of the Ohio EPA on April 19. In that Shuff stated he “observed two separate dumps over the bank, flowers, pots, roofing shingles.” A follow-up inspection was made in August when Shuff found large piles of artificial flowers and pots. That situation was corrected, according to the Ohio EPA.

Bowling issued a $20,000 own recognizance (OR) bond for Carterand set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 14.