An investigation into the vandalism of a Black Lives Matter mural painted along the street in front of the Vermont Statehouse has been closed, following the reported death of the suspect.
The Black Lives Matter mural was painted along State St. in Montpelier on June 13. In less than 24 hours, the painting, which said “Black Lives Matter” in bold, yellow letters, was found spray painted and covered in mud and dirt.
The suspect, identified by the Montpelier Police Department as Fred Seavey, died in a car accident on July 1. Seavey, 56, was found to have been driving along Interstate 89 north nearby Waterbury when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a highway median, according to an initial accident report by WCAX.
Authorities listed Seavey as a “transient with no home address,” according to the article.
DNA had previously been collected from spray cans found nearby the mural, and were brought to the Vermont State Crime Lab for analysis. The subsequent DNA match, coupled with witness statements and video surveillance, linked Seavey to the crime.
In a letter to the Montpelier Police Department, the office of the Washington County State’s Attorney found that there was “sufficient evidence” to file criminal charges on “unlawful mischief, burglary and petit larceny.”
The graffiti itself does not rise to the level of a hate crime because the victims in this circumstance are government entities (City of Montpelier and the State of Vermont) rather than individuals, according to Rory T. Thibault, Washington County State’s Attorney, in a news release.
Thibault added that given Seavey’s death, the Washington County State’s Attorney would not seek prosecution.
The Montpelier mural has since been repainted following the June 14 incident.
Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.
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