Suspects appear in court for Confederate statue vandalism

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 12:28 PM EST
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UPDATE (Dec. 20):

The two men charged in connection with vandalism of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville went before a judge Friday morning.

31-year-old Nicolas McCarthy-Rivera and 44-year-old Jesse Tobias Beard appeared in Charlottesville General District Court early Friday, December 20. Both are charged with felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing.

Police say they watched the two men break through the orange barrier around the base of the statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Court Square Park just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday, December 19.

Friday, the judge ordered each man to get a letter from an attorney.

McCarthy-Rivera and Beard are currently out on bond, and are scheduled to be back in court on February 13, 2020.


Two people are under arrest after Charlottesville police say they caught them trying to vandalize the city's statue of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Police tell Charlottesville news outlets they watched two men break through the orange barrier around the base of the statue in Court Square Park just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday, December 19, and then pull out a rock hammer to damage the base of the statue.

According to a press release from the Charlottesville Police Department, 31-year-old Nicolas McCarthy-Rivera, of Charlottesville, and 44-year-old Jesse Tobias Beard, also of Charlottesville, were both arrested and charged with felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing.

No further details have been released, including whether police have tied the suspects to previous incidents of vandalism to the statue or to the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Market Street Park.

Anyone with information about the vandalism cases is asked to contact the Charlottesville Police Department at (434) 970-3280 or Crime Stoppers at (434) 977-4000. Crime Stoppers are offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest in the vandalism incidents.

At the start of this month, cleaning crews

with "This is Racist," but that was just the latest in a recent spree of vandalism to both the Lee statue and the Jackson statue, both at the center of a long-ongoing lawsuit after the city voted to remove them in 2017.

As a part of that lawsuit, a judge

, so vandalism of the statues is a serious offense, carrying up to a year in jail or even up to five years in prison, depending on the value of damage to the statue.

Crime Stoppers is currently offering a reward for anyone who has information that leads to an arrest for the vandalism of the Lee statue or the Jackson statue. That number is 434-977-4000.

Granite has also been chipped away at the decorative pedestals of both statues

and midway through October, when a piece of paper with "1619" was taped over a sign in front of the statue too. That followed a

when granite features were chipped away.

At that point, the noses were removed from two angelic icons on the base of the Jackson statue. Some of the toes on the female symbol had also been chipped off, while the sword in the hand of the male angel symbol appeared to have been broken.

Just days before that vandalism,

, referencing the year the first slaves came to Virginia. That was quickly scrubbed off the day afterward.

The Charlottesville Police Department is investigating all the cases of vandalism.

A judge has prevented the city's efforts to remove both statues