San Antonio man admits role in vandalism of two local landmarks
A third defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser federal charge than his co-defendants for his role in vandalizing two San Antonio missions with graffiti.
Andres Castañeda, 19, entered the plea Monday to a misdemeanor charge of depredation or damage of government property less than $1,000. He faces no more than a year inprison when he’s sentenced this spring by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.
Castañeda admitted that on June 21, 2018, he, Gabriella Petra Fritz, 21, and Sydney Elizabeth Faris, 22, sprayed graffiti on walls, signs or in the parking lots at Mission San José and Mission San Juan. Both have active Catholic parishes and are part of the National Park Service. In 2015, they were designated World Heritage sites.
Faris and Fritz pleaded guilty last week to a felony charge of depredation of government property and face up to 10 years in prison. All three, however, will be jointly responsible for $10,483 in restitution, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wannarka said Monday.
“This particular defendant, for a number of reasons, we are offering him a lesser included charge,” Wannarka told U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad, who took Castañeda’s plea. “Based on the totality of the circumstances, this particular defendant is pleading to a misdemeanor charge.”
The matter made local headlines in part because the graffiti included the phrase “I Don’t Care” and “Do you?” — which some observers claimed was a reference to similar wording on a jacket that First Lady Melania Trump wore during a visit to the Rio Grande Valley last year. The graffiti also contained an obscene message to an agency that handles immigration enforcement, which Fritz admitted she did.
Guillermo Contreras covers federal court and immigration news in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @gmaninfedland