.

Taggers Plead Guilty To Graffiti

"Beav" and "Vomet" negotiated plea deals that include probation, thousands in fines and restitution.

Douglas Grantham Jones and Christopher Erik Smith — long the source of aggravation for the intown neighborhoods of Old Fourth Ward, Virginia-Highland, Inman Park and Poncey-Highland — pleaded guilty to graffiti and destruction of property Wednesday.

The two, known as "Beav" and "Vomet," respectively, appeared before Chief Judge Crystal A. Gaines in Atlanta Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon.

Gaines ordered the pair pay thousands in restitution to their victims, additional fines and court costs and that they serve probation in a sentencing hearing that lasted about 30 minutes.

Specifically, Gaines ordered that:

  • Jones, 19:
    • serve six months' probation
    • pay $4,750 in restitution to three victims, including $1,450 to Georgia Power Co.
    • pay $300 in fines, plus court costs.
    • understand that successful completion of the probation is contingent upon the other parts of the sentence being followed
  • Smith, 29:
    • serve six months' probation
    • pay $3,550 in restitution to two victims, including $2,500 to the city of Atlanta
    • 50 hours of community service
    • $500 in fines, plus court costs
    • understand that successful completion of the probation is contingent upon the other parts of the sentence being followed

The guilty pleas were entered under a negotiated deal between their attorney, Daniel Kane, and Erika D. Smith, the senior assistant solicitor representing the city.

They faced several counts for violations of the city's graffiti code and destruction of property and fines of $1,000 per infraction.

The deals bring to a close this longstanding case, which stretched back nearly a year following delays and requests by their attorney for more access to police files.

Despite the delays, residents from the affected neighborhoods attended each hearing, with their numbers reaching 20 strong sometimes, to ensure the communities' voices were heard.

Wednesday afternoon, seven residents got up to speak as a group to the judge before she imposed her sentences.

Dressed in Ralph Lauren pinstriped oxford shirts — with Jones in khaki pants and tan topsiders and Smith in dark blue jeans and dark blue tennis shoes — the two listened as Old Fourth Ward resident Linda Downing spoke on behalf of the group.

"I go out and buy paint at Home Depot and take my children out — we paint over graffiti all the time," she said, noting it's a routine repeated by several neighbors. "I would ask these young men to try to have a positive impact on our neighborhood."

As part of that, she asked, and Gaines agreed, that Smith should use his community service time by painting over graffiti in Old Fourth Ward.

"I'm sure Mr. Smith will learn from this event and never come back in front of me again," Gaines said.

Earl Williamson, RN June 07, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Briana - They're not artists, they're vandals. I like the way you compliment them on not vandalizing "people's homes, schools or churches" and ignore the fact they've vandalized historical structures, award winning architecture, traffic signs to the point of illegibility, community non profit's structures and vehicles, businesses, parks, recreation facilities ... the list goes on. "Kind of cool" is a poor rationalization for vandalism.
Nick June 07, 2012 at 07:47 PM
+1
Anjin-san June 07, 2012 at 10:49 PM
"These guys are artists." Not really. Adult-sized scribblers. The children's drawings that Homegrown puts on their refrigerator show better creativity and skill. "...the commenter above obviously doesn't appreciate art." I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Joe does know about personal property, as most parents teach that to their small children. My father's language was a little more colorful than most, but apparently Muskrat and Hurl never got the "Is it yours? Then don't f * ck with it" speech. "Move to the burbs. Run a homeowners association." This is how I know you are a complete idiot. You apparently are not aware of all of the neighborhood associations in our area: SAND, GPNA, EACA, etc. There are plenty of engaged homeowners ITP, you don't to travel. If you think shiite-scribble graffiti is awesome, please list your full name, describe the hovel you live in, and give us your make/model/license plate # of your car/skateboard/scooter. I'm sure one of us can find enough kindergarten kids and spray paint to leave you with some really awesome "art".
Ms. June 09, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I really enjoyed looking at the Living Walls around town. But am absolutely not down with painting private property, especially when the people who live in the immediate vicinity are opposed to it. Just because you live in the city, doesn't mean you give up your property rights, and its in everyone's interest to have steady property values. If the statement above is indeed true: "vandalized historical structures, award winning architecture, traffic signs to the point of illegibility, community non profit's structures and vehicles, businesses, parks, recreation facilities" then that's absolutely despicable.
crebain July 06, 2012 at 07:56 PM
These guys are artists and the more they are suppressed the more vandal level artists will arise

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