Thursday, December 12, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
October 08, 2013
DALLAS -- Austen Priest, aka the "A-Bomber," who vandalized several locations in the Independence area with his own brand of graffiti, pleaded guilty last week to 16 counts of second-degree criminal mischief.
He was sentenced Oct. 1 to 30 days in jail and two years of probation after his release.
Priest, 18, was arrested in June in connection with dozens of cases of graffiti in Independence and as many as 200 in the Salem-Keizer area.
"This type of crime is a big deal in a community of any size, but in particular in our community of Independence where there is so much pride in public parks and public works," said Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton. "To have people show such disregard by painting over them, it's important those who commit those crimes be held accountable."
Felton said such vandalism comes at significant cost to victims, a fact he hoped would be impressed on Priest during the sentencing proceeding.
"I was looking for a sentence that would both immediately hold Mr. Priest accountable with the jail sanction, but also deter him from committing similar crimes in the future," Felton said.
He said the sentence, issued by Polk County Circuit Judge Norm Hill on Oct. 1, accomplished both.
"Only Mr. Priest will be able to determine its effectiveness, but I think the sentence will give him an opportunity to turn things around," Felton said.
The terms of Priest's probation include not associating with other "taggers" and not possessing spray paints or pens that could be used in graffiti. Priest's jail sentence is in addition to the 23 days he served before sentencing.
Priest will serve a separate sentence in Marion County Circuit Court on the Salem-Keizer cases.