Trial date set for man accused of stealing thousands from families of deceased
A Chattanooga man accused of taking payments for headstones and never delivering was in court Wednesday. Trent Wichman was expected to either take a plea deal or have a trial date set.
In March of 2018, Wichman Monument closed its doors. But several customers claim they hadn't received headstones from Trent Wichman after they had paid thousands of dollars. That's how former owner Trent Wichman ended up charged with theft.
Wichman customers eventually received refunds or finished headstones, thanks to the efforts of Chattanooga Monuments owner Jim Holcomb.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Wichman is facing a trial.
"To give Mr. Wichman time, and to give a stop for court we would like to set a date for trial,” prosecutor Andrew Coyle said. “I would ask that the date be set at April 21st."
Until Wednesday, a plea deal from the district attorney was on the table. Instead, the defense decided to move forward with a trial. Wichman's attorney wouldn't say why they turned down the deal.
After setting a trial date of April 21st of next year, business took about a minute, and Judge Barry Steelman set a date for Wichman's next appearance.
He will be back in court on February 24th for a pre-trial conference before that tentative April trial date.