Howard County police have arrested a 20-year-old former Howard County student and an 18-year-old senior at Howard High School in connection with a wave of vandalism that has troubled county schools for the past month.
Police said that the racist and obscene graffiti that were spray-painted on county schools on five occasions were personal attacks on a Howard High School vice principal who had suspended the former student five years ago.
William Francis Holderman of the 600 block of Hallmark Drive in Glen Burnie was arrested at home Tuesday evening. Police said they received an anonymous call Monday from someone who said Holderman had been boasting that he had made the news for spray-painting the schools.
Police said Holderman's fingerprints were found at Mount Hebron High and Worthington Elementary schools after they were vandalized Feb. 7 or Feb. 8, and that the name "Bill H." was scrawled on the walls of Howard High on Jan. 4.
Holderman, who is a manager for McDonald's in Restaurant Park on Route 108 in Columbia, has been charged with six counts of destruction of property and two counts of burglary. He was being held in the Howard County Detention Center on $20,000 bail.
Yesterday morning, police arrested Howard High senior Cory Lee Lafon of the 400 block of Arrow Way in Elkridge. He was charged with multiple counts of destruction of property and burglary, and was being held at the county jail until a bail review hearing this morning. Police would not give any details about the connection between the two men.
"If what they say is true, I'm glad to hear it's only a few people and not wide-scale vandalism," said Grace Lee, Howard County PTA president.
In addition to incidents at the Worthington and Mount Hebron schools last weekend, in the past month racist graffiti were found at Ellicott City Middle School and on two occasions on walls and windows of Howard High.
Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for the county's Board of Education, said the total cost in the past month of removing the graffiti and replacing destroyed school property is more than $25,000.
According to court documents, the spray-painted graffiti followed a similar pattern, with inflammatory words and numerous swastikas and anarchy symbols covering exterior walls and windows.
Also spray-painted on many of the buildings were the words "Kill Wallis" and "Anti Wallis," referring to Howard High School's vice principal, Steven Wallis, who declined to comment yesterday.
According to charging documents, Wallis told police he had twice suspended Holderman from classes at Mount Hebron High during the 1991 and 1992 school years, when Wallis was a vice principal there and Holderman was a freshman or a sophomore.
Police said one of the suspensions was for vandalism and destruction of property. The other suspension came after a physical altercation between Wallis and Holderman, who was charged with assault with a concealed deadly weapon in the incident.
Police are investigating the graffiti incidents to determine whether more charges will be filed against Holderman and Lafon, and whether more arrests will be made.
Pub Date: 2/13/97