Six people pleaded no contest Tuesday for their roles in severely vandalizing a foreclosed home in 2012 during a “Sharpie party.”
During a Sharpie party, evicted tenants pass out markers and vandalize property before the bank assumes control.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office said the evicted tenant, Mathew N. Clements, 27, invited as many as 100 people to the party, passed out felt-tipped markers and encouraged people to damage the home.
Partygoers caused about $24,000 in damage Feb. 25, 2012, to the home at 1046 Mirror Lake Drive, committing various acts of vandalism authorities described as “shocking,” “senseless” and “extreme.”
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Investigators said much of the house was significantly damaged. Massive holes were punched in walls, which were also covered in graffiti, described as “vulgar” and depicting “sex acts.” Garbage and other miscellaneous debris covered vomit-stained floors, investigators said.
A three-month investigation followed. Clements and five others were eventually identified as suspects.
“I think this resolution sends the message that we take these supposedly harmless graffiti parties very seriously, and we will arrest you and convict you,” Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall said. “We will convict people who destroy property.”
The case was prosecuted with funds obtained by the District Attorney’s Office through a real estate fraud grant, Wall said.
Clements on Tuesday pleaded no contest to a conditional felony, Wall confirmed. Wall said if Clements repays his share of the $24,000 in damage, the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Clements and each of the other five defendants: Timothy J. De Los Santos, 23, Brian E. McNeil, 33, Jonathan D. McCarthy, 34, James D. Blaylock, 23, and Richard A. Thomas Jr., pleaded no contest to reduced charges in connection with the party before Merced Superior Court Judge Paul C. Lo.
Thomas’ age and booking photograph were not available Tuesday.
Each defendant was ordered to pay $4,000 over the next year. Defendants McNeil and Blaylock each paid off their restitution in full Tuesday, attorneys said.
Agreeing to pay for the damage caused to the house helped the defendants avoid up to a year in jail.
Blaylock’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Caleb Hegland, said his client was satisfied the outcome. “(Blaylock) borrowed the money to pay his restitution from family members and is relieved that it’s finally over,” Hegland said.
Thomas’ attorney, John Garcia, called the resolution in the case “reasonable.” “My client is satisfied and I think it was best disposition possible for all the parties involved on both sides,” Garcia said.