- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

GERING, Neb. (AP) - The Scotts Bluff County attorney intends to appeal the dismissal of a case against an 18-year-old accused of scrawling racist graffiti on the windows of a classmate’s car.

Judge James Worden stopped Alysha Schwartzkopf’s trial on Tuesday and dismissed the case. Doug Warner told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (https://bit.ly/1cb7BPV) on Thursday that he was surprised Worden’s ruling that the 2009 law cited in the allegation didn’t apply.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Warner said of the judge’s dismissal. “It was surprising.”

The judge agreed with defense attorney Todd Morten that the law didn’t bar putting graffiti on a vehicle. The law used the word “structure,” which the deputy county attorney prosecuting the case said could apply to a vehicle.

“It is not meant to be a building,” Warner said. “The statute already has building in its definition. It can be a ship. It can be a statute. A structure can be lots of things. That is why I didn’t think that it was an issue.”

Warner said that’s what he’ll state in his appeal.

Police say that on Oct. 17 at a high school volleyball game in Scottsbluff, Schwartzkopf defaced the windows of another Gering High School senior, Isaiah Wilson, who is biracial.

Prosecutor Jeremy Anderson said Tuesday that Schwartzkopf was one of several students involved in a plan to retaliate against Wilson over an incident involving a cousin of Schwartzkopf, Matthieu Prieels.

Morten said his client had written on Wilson’s vehicle because someone had bet her $5 that she wouldn’t.

“Maybe (writing the word) is mean, careless, reckless and hurtful, but that doesn’t make it a crime,” Morten said.

___

Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com


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