Clinton Man Sentenced to Tolerance Program

Clinton Man Sentenced to Tolerance Program

By Eric Hartley - February 8, 2002 - Prince George's Journal - Journal staff writer

A Clinton man who pleaded guilty to spray-painting graffiti on two churches and a school will complete a tolerance program run by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of his sentence.

Paul Lee Jones, 20, is one of three men who police said painted racist and anti-Semitic slurs on the Clinton-area churches and school in May.

Jones pleaded guilty in October to two counts of defacing religious property and one count of defacing an institution. At a hearing Thursday, a judge sentenced Jones to 60 days in jail and ordered him to complete the program, "Bringing the Lessons Home: Holocaust Education for the Community."

The Holocaust museum runs the program for students from Washington-area schools and from communities where churches have been turned, according to the museum's Web site.

Jones' lawyer, James N. Papirmeister, said he and Jones visited the Holocaust museum to ask that Jones be accepted into the program. He said that when someone at the museum asked Jones, "What were you thinking?" Jones replied, "I wasn't thinking; that was the thing."

"It was a prank," Papirmeister said. "They really did not think about the consequences."

The program requires more than 100 hours of working, learning and teaching at the museum, Papirmeister said.

Papirmeister said he thought Jones' 60-day jail sentence was fair because Jones was less involved than the other two men accused in the incident.

"He essentially was a lookout," Papirmeister said.

Jones did not paint anti-Semitic or racist messages, only the phrase "2-18-11," the name of a group he and the other men had formed, Papirmeister said.

On May 16 Jones, Mark David Weaver, 19, and Kevin Hamilton Murphy, 19, broke into a shed on the property of Grace Brethren Church and took a can of white spray paint, police said.

They then painted a pentagram, an upside-down cross and the numbers "666" -- a common satanic message -- on the church or the property, police said.

They also painted a pentagram and the messages "F--- God," "666" and "2-18-11" on the front of Clinton Presbyterian Church, police said.

The men also painted "KKK," "Get Out Nigers" [sic] and two common Nazi symbols -- a swastika and the letters "SS" -- on Waldon Woods Elementary School in Clinton, police said.

Weaver pleaded guilty in October to second-degree burglary and three counts of defacing property and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Murphy's trial is scheduled for April.