The first of the five teens charged with a state jail felony for an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included anti-gay slurs on a lesbian couples’ SUV was sentenced Wednesday.
The 16-year-old was the first teen to turn herself in and cooperated with Arlington police when surveillance video of the culprits was released by a neighbor. She was sentenced to a year of probation in juvenile court, along with 50 hours of community service that must be completed at either Samaritan House or AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth.
David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer, attended the trial and sentencing. He said the judge was stern with the teen, reminding her that her actions affected a whole neighborhood and not just the 16 victims whose property was damaged.
The juvenile is also responsible for one-fifth of the cost of the restitution, which currently totals $6,441 but can be amended by the DA later.
Fairness Fort Worth President Jon Nelson called the sentence fair and reasonable, considering the teen will have to complete community service. He said he thinks all of the teens should have to complete community service at an LGBT or HIV/AIDS organization.
“I think that these people need to understand our community and the only way for them to do that is working within that community,” Nelson said.
Kim Lovering, one of the victims of the anti-gay graffiti, said she was pleased with the sentencing because the teen didn’t have any previous convictions.
“I thought it was fair,” she said.
She said the assistant district attorney asked for the community service to be served at an LGBT organization where the teen would have some interaction with people different from her as a learning experience.
The four adults in the case — Daniel Sibley, 18, John Austin Cartwright, 18, Seth Stephen Hatcher, 19, and Morgen Rae Aubuchon, 18, — were indicted Sept. 25 for a state jail felony charge of graffiti causing $1,500 to $20,000 in damage. The individual misdemeanor charges were combined to obtain the higher charge, but the hate crime enhancement couldn’t be applied because it only pertained to Lovering’s case. They all have court dates Dec. 5.
Assistant District Attorney Betty Arvin, the prosecutor who’s handling the adult cases, said she doesn’t expect any plea bargains to be made during the court dates next week because the cases are still in the preliminary stages of negotiations.
Lovering said she expects them all to eventually receive at least the sentence that the juvenile got this week.
“I feel like the that’s the base mark of absolute minimum for the adults,” she said. “They did too much to too many people to just walk away with a slap on the wrist without any repercussions.”