ShareThis Page
City officer’s grave defaced |

City officer’s grave defaced

Michael Hasch
| Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:00 p.m

Frances Kelly said her son rarely got any rest while alive because of his dangerous job as a city policeman. Now, she says, vandals won’t let him rest in peace.

Her son, Pittsburgh police Officer Eric G. Kelly, and fellow officers Stephen J. Mayhle and Paul J. Sciullo II were gunned down when they responded to a domestic disturbance April 4 in Stanton Heights.

Not long after the funeral, vandals began desecrating Kelly’s grave in Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville, she said.

“It makes me so sad. He didn’t get much peace because of his job. Now, he’s passed, they took his life and they won’t leave him in peace.”

Frances Kelly, who visits the grave at least twice a week with her daughter, Danyelle Kelly Cheatham, said vandals first struck about three weeks after her 41-year-old son died when flowers she planted at his grave were cut.

“I planted roses on each side; they used scissors to cut them.”

Soon after, vandals began tossing stands with wreaths across the cemetery as well as a small stuffed animal with balloons that his granddaughter left.

“I planted flowers at the foot of the grave. They pulled those up. They ripped up two flags I put there. Someone put dog poop on the grave,” Frances Kelly said Wednesday night, sobbing.

Kelly said she’s having a hard time coping with her son’s death. This makes it worse.

“It’s like going through the trauma over and over and over and over. I don’t have a healing process. It’s not right. Every time I go there, it drains me. I’m crying and I’m sad. I can’t get over the fact he’s passed. I can’t get over the way he passed. It’s just not right.”

Frances Kelly said it appears the vandalism has ceased since she reported it Saturday when she returned to town after the funeral of her brother.

City police now are patrolling the area, trying to catch anyone responsible, she said.

She said the vandals won’t stop her from beautifying her son’s grave and keeping his memory alive.

“They keep messing with him, but it won’t stop me.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.