Pair accused of vandalizing Arundel home of minister

`It was not a hate crime,' but revenge, police say

October 16, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A man and a woman have been charged with vandalizing a black minister's house in Gambrills, police said yesterday. Although the destruction helped prompt county officials to pledge a renewed fight against racially motivated crimes, investigators determined that the vandalism of the minister's house was not a hate crime.

The vandalism Aug. 5 was an act of revenge arising from a dispute between the Rev. David Queen's son Wesley and the sister of Wesley Queen's ex-girlfriend, county police said.

Expletives, threats, a racial slur, the letters KKK and the numbers 666 (a symbol associated with Satanism) were spray-painted on the house to mislead investigators, police said.

"All of the racial elements were done to divert attention from who was actually responsible," said Officer Charles Ravenell, a police spokesman. "It was not a hate crime."

Police charged Maurice Williams, 20, of Laurel and Teba Coates, 21, of Camp Springs with destruction of property valued at more than $500, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

On Wednesday, Williams was served with a summons to appear in court on the charges. Coates was charged Thursday, police said yesterday. No court date has been set.

Coates is the sister of Queen's ex-girlfriend and both suspects are black, the court papers say.

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