Malicious Destruction Results in Arrests
While most people use herbicide to rid their yards of those pesky weeds that pop up uninvited in their flower beds, one mother and daughter duo were recently arraigned on criminal charges for using weed killer for a different, and some say malicious, purpose.
Julie A. Baumgartner, a 50-year-old resident of Monroe County, along with her 16-year-old daughter and a third co-conspirator, a 17-year-old boy, recently used herbicide to burn away grass on the Bedford High School football field in the shape of a large penis. The genitalia depiction spanned the entire width of the field.
But while Baumgartner and the two teens say what they did was meant to be a prank, many people are very upset by the condition of the field. “It was a lot more than a prank given the significant damage and the disruption of school activities,” said Assistant Monroe County Prosecutor Leah Hubbard. “School events had to be moved, and “there have been countless hours of volunteer time to get the field back in playing condition.”
All three are facing felony charges of malicious destruction of property, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in jail, and a possible fine of $10,000. In addition, Baumgartner is also charged with the misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Baumgartner’s daughter is currently being held in a Monroe County juvenile detention facility, while the boy, who is not a student in the school district, is still awaiting arraignment. According to school officials, a suspension and expulsion hearing has been scheduled for the daughter.
Tim Churchill, the defense attorney for both Baumgartner and her daughter recently addressed the issue, saying ,”It’s an unfortunate incident with unintended consequences. I think what started out maybe in general as a prank turned out to be a very serious matter.”
He also says that neither of his clients actually set foot on the field, but because the boy’s attorney could not be reached for questioning, it is not yet known to what extent he is involved.
According to court documents, the damage adds up to anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000. Assistant Prosecutor Hubbard says that the final amount is still being calculated by officials, but they are certain it is extensive.