Sentencing In Bone-Theft Case Set For Tuesday

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Sentencing is set for Tuesday in federal court for an Athens man who pleaded guilty to charges related to the theft and sale of human bones.

Weston Moquin, 29, pleaded guilty in January to charges of interstate transportation of stolen goods and theft from a program receiving federal funds.

The thefts were from Ohio University between May of 2011 and September of 2012, when Moquin was employed there as an anatomical assistant.

The thefts were unrelated to his father’s funeral home business.

According to court documents, materials stolen included loose human bones, skulls, skeletons, plastinated human remains, autopsy saws and other materials that had been purchased by the university as teaching aids.

Moquin sold the items through his eBay account, and most were shipped to customers in California, Utah and Oregon.

He received $84,684 for the items.

On Monday, defense attorney Keith Yeazel filed a sentencing memorandum in which he asks the court to sentence Moquin to probation.

“He is a first-time, non-violent felony offender who essentially committed thefts to support his drug habit,” Yeazel writes. “A sentence of probation for such an offender is warranted.”

Yeazel argues that Moquin needs treatment for his drug problem.

“The most efficacious method of controlling addiction is not incapacitation through imprisonment, but rather treatment,” Yeazel states. “If drug addiction creates a propensity towards crime, then it follows that drug rehabilitation goes a long way toward preventing recidivism.”

According to Yeazel, Moquin relapsed most recently this past March.

In arguing for probation, Yeazel also says Moquin needs to work to pay the $84,684 in restitution.

If the court decides probation is not warranted, Yeazel argues for a shorter prison sentence because it would be Moquin’s first time in prison.

“… It is suggested that a shorter rather than longer sentence is sufficient to impress on Mr. Moquin the seriousness of his crimes and deter him from re-offending,” Yeazel writes.

According to Yeazel’s filing, guidelines suggest a sentencing range of 15 to 21 months, based in part on Moquin’s criminal history classification. If a persistent disorderly conduct and two 2012 convictions for driving without a license are not considered, the advisory guideline sentence drops to 12 to 18 months.

A document filed by prosecutors last December indicates that the maximum possible sentence on each charge is 10 years in prison.

Yeazel’s memorandum includes letters of support from two of Moquin’s aunts, and from two people who worked with Moquin (not at OU).

This article contributed by the Athens Messenger