4th teen sentenced to 3 years probation in Arlington anti-gay graffiti case

John Austin Cartwright

John Austin Cartwright

John Austin Cartwright, 18, pleaded guilty in Fort Worth today for his involvement in a June graffiti spree in Arlington that included anti-gay slurs spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

He accepted the same plea deal as others in the case, including three years deferred adjudication and 120 hours of community service at AIDS Outreach Center or Samaritan House in Fort Worth. He must pay his share of the $6,441 in damages as well.

In addition, the judge ordered Cartwright, who is in high school, to write a 500-word essay on what he’ll do to pay his debt to society and what he’s learned to make the world a better place.

“This guy seems genuinely remorseful,” said Fairness Fort Worth’s David Mack Henderson, who was in the courtroom. “If any of the five appear to have a chance to learn a lesson and turn himself around, this young man has it.”

Henderson said Cartwright was scheduled to earn his Eagle Scout award, but likely won’t receive it.

Daniel Sibley,19, the fifth and final teen involved in the case, was in court but didn’t enter a plea. Sibley has a prior record. His attorney and the DA are still in negotiation on his case.

—  David Taffet

First of 5 teens sentenced to probation in anti-gay graffiti case in Arlington

ArlingtonHateCrime

Kim Lovering’s vehicle was spray-painted with ‘faggot’ and ‘queers.’

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.

—  Anna Waugh