A 32-year-old Santeria priest accused of stealing five skeletons from a Massachusetts mausoleum appeared in court Tuesday, where a judge set his bail at $100,000.
Amador Medina, of Hartford, Connecticut, appeared in a Worcester courtroom Tuesday morning on charges of breaking into and stealing the remains of five family members laid to rest in a mausoleum at Hope Cemetery.
Investigators said the skeletons belonged to three adults and two children in the Houghton family and were believed to have been interred in the early 1900s. The crime was discovered Oct. 9, when a visitor to the cemetery noticed open crypts.
Medina is a priest who practices Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion derived from the beliefs and customs of the Yoruba people that incorporates elements of the Catholic faith. Investigators said Medina wanted the bones for medicinal reasons, and that older bones are preferred.
Police allege they found the remains in two garbage bags on the porch of Medina's apartment.
Authorities said Tuesday that Medina claimed to have bought the bones from someone else.
"The defendant had stated that he had purchased these remains from another individual, but he was aware that they did come from the mausoleum and he did not have permission to have those remains," Assistant District Attorney Joe Simmons said.
Medina was scheduled to start a new job today, according to his attorney. That attorney argued that because of his work history and minimal criminal record, bail should be set between $1,000 and $2,000.
Instead, the judge lowered the prosecution's suggestion of $200,000, setting cash bail at $100,000.
Medina is set to appear again in court next month.