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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Teen Who Cut Off Corpse's Head To Make Bong Sentenced

Friends Say Buckalew Told Them He Did It Out Of Boredom

POSTED: 12:52 pm EDT June 29,
A Vermont teenager has been sentenced to prison for breaking into a tomb and cutting the head off a corpse.

Nickolas Buckalew, 18, of Morrisville, Vt., pleaded guilty to two charges.

One was a felony count of intentionally removing or injuring a tombstone. The other was a felony charge of intentionally disinterring and carrying away the remains of a human body.
Buckalew was sentenced to between one and seven years in prison and was given credit for serving 14 months while awaiting trial.

On April 8, 2005, Buckalew broke into a tomb, opened the lid of a casket and cut off the head of a corpse. He stole eyeglasses and a bow tie from the dead man. He then wrapped the head in plastic bags and took it home, The Caledonian-Record reported.

The teen reportedly told friends that he planned to leave the head outside to dry and would then bleach it, a police affidavit said. The witnesses said his plan was to turn the skull into a bong -- a pipe generally used to smoke marijuana. Buckalew went to an apartment where some of his friends were and told them that he had chopped off the head because he was bored, according to The Caledonian-Record.

The witnesses said they then went to the tomb to see the casket and saw that the lid was removed and the body in the casket was headless.

Morristown said that while executing a search warrant at Buckalew’s home, they found a human head wrapped in bags, a necktie, a hacksaw, crowbar, garden trowel and two small parts of the damaged casket, according to the newspaper.

A psychiatrist has diagnosed Buckalew with mental health issues.

Dr. Philip Kinsler, a clinical psychologist and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., testified that Buckalew “has always felt extraordinarily out of place" and that Buckalew said he tried to hang himself when he was a child.

After the incident, the victim's widow, the only family member in the area, was told of the vandalism.

"The widow was in shock," the chief of police said said. "She did not want any information. She did not want to know any details."

Buckalew addressed the court after his sentencing, saying, "It was a horrendous thing that I did -- what I did was appalling. I didn't think of the victim."

He went on to say he wants to get help for his mental problems.

He's been sent to a residential treatment program for juveniles.