Hate Crime Alleged in Big Pine Graffiti Case

The Inyo County District Attorneys office will seek hate crime enhancements against Big Pine Resident Ryan Jones. Jones was charged with five counts of felony graffiti in June for allegedly spray painting swastikas and other Nazi symbols in many locations in Big Pine including sites on the Reservation.

The swastikas could be found on fences and signs along Bartell. A large swastika was painted on a wall at Big Pine High School. At Mendenhall Park, a swastika was painted on the slide at the childrens playground. Inyo Sheriff Deputies had reported that Jones was seen passed out at the park and that when officers went to his house, Jones had similar paint on his t-shirt.

Jones has been charged with five counts of felony vandalism. Assistant District Attorney Mark Johnson reports that with three of the charges it was appropriate to seek hate crime enhancements.

The DAs office also alleges that Jones did not act alone. A juvenile faces charges arising out of this same incident.

Assistant DA Johnson explained that the vandalism charges could carry a three year prison sentence. The hate crime enhancements could add up to three years to the main sentence if Jones acted alone, four years if the hate crime was committed with some one else.

Jones is scheduled to be in court again next week.

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