Headstone feud still not laid to rest

Justin Hamilton
Justin Hamilton

EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - It's a classic case of he said, he said. One man says he paid for a headstone for his deceased mother in July. The man he paid says the ground is too wet to lay the marker, and it's not ready to be placed.

The final resting place for Harriet Franklin is Pine Grove Cemetery in East Feliciana. Her son Kevin says she lived a productive 85 years before passing away on May 27, 2012. Kevin says he commissioned Justin Hamilton to prepare a headstone for his mother's grave in July.

Nineteen weeks later, only a small metal plaque marks her final resting place. Her nephew, Jason Andrus, is upset because he already paid the $425 total and the headstone still isn't in place.

Andrus says after a couple of weeks of not hearing from Hamilton, he began calling and recruiting others to call, just to get Hamilton to answer the phone.  "We just want the headstone," said Andrus.

Justin Hamilton of Hamilton's Headstones doesn't see it that way. "He told me he paid me several months ago. It has not been several months – no." Hamilton says if he puts the headstone down now, it will lean and roll over, which will make him "look bad."

Hamilton claims the soil is too wet from recent rains; however the site of the grave on Friday was dry. Hamilton also said the grave was too new to place the marker, which he alleges is being kept in a warehouse. He offered to take it to the family immediately, but when we pressed him to show us the headstone he retracted his offer and said Andrus himself could go later to pick it up.

9News confronted Hamilton 11 months ago about lengthy delays in procuring the headstone and he said "I'm not the kind of guy that forgets people."

After our story aired Friday evening, Hamilton delivered the headstone.

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