NEWBURYPORT — A 19-year-old man from Salisbury was
supposed to be cleaning up a cemetery last week as part of court-ordered
community work after he broke into an apartment building last fall.
Instead, officials said, Neil J. Goodwin Jr. invaded the tomb of a Civil
War veteran, pulled apart the 142-year-old skeleton, and then played with
the bones, balancing the skull on his shoulder and posing for pictures.
”It’s bizarre, absolutely bizarre," said Lieutenant Richard Siemasko
of the Newburyport police. ”I can’t even imagine what was in his head.
This is just a whole new level of weird for me."
Goodwin pleaded not guilty yesterday in Newburyport District Court to a
charge of desecrating a corpse and breaking into a tomb, both felonies.
Prosecutors said he was doing community service in the Old Hill Burying
Ground on Aug. 17 when he kicked in the thin marble entrance to a tomb
marked ”1863 Pierce" and twisted off the spine, collarbone, and skull.
”Every time you think you have seen it all, something like this happens," Siemasko
said. ”We just can’t understand why anyone would do this."
story from the Boston Globe