Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Man Arrested for Alleged Satanic Graffiti in Atlanta Neighborhood

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Reports out of Atlanta show that 32-year-old man, Zachariah Williams, has been arrested for weeks worth of vandalism near Pryor Road.

Authorities have been trying to find the suspect responsible for graffiti depicting satanic symbolism including: 666, Die, Payback, I'm going to kill you, etc. This graffiti has been spotted all over the Lakewood Heights neighborhood. The city would paint over the graffiti just for it to reappear in the subsequent days.

Police were able to identify Williams as the suspect through tips from the community.

As an Atlanta Criminal Lawyer, I will outline the law that Williams has been accused of breaking - the law behind criminal damage to property.

Williams has been arrested on second degree criminal damage to property. There is also first degree criminal damage to property in Georgia, which is penalized more strictly - however they are both serious offenses.

Second Degree Criminal Damage to Property in Georgia

Georgia Law defines second degree criminal damage to property in Georgia in O.C.G.A. §16-7-23 as:

A person commits the offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree when they:

  • Intentionally damage any property of another person without their consent, and the damage, therefore, exceeds $500.00; or
  • Recklessly or intentionally, by means of fire or explosive, damages property of another person.

By law, damage means depreciation in value, whether the depreciation is caused by a wrongful or a lawful act. However, it can also refer to some loss, injury, or harm that results from the unlawful act, omission, or negligence of another. Damage to property means all injuries, which one may sustain with respect to that person's ownership of personal property. 

In fact, the crime of criminal damage to property in the second degree and criminal trespass in Georgia are nearly identical crimes except for the amount of damage required for a conviction.

Damage is determined from testimony of the owner of the property as to their opinion of the value of the property, without proof, is not sufficient to prove the value of the property. There also must be some evidence of the property's value. One way to show the value is when a witness pays the monetary amount necessary to make the owner's property whole again. The amount necessary to make them whole is then a fact, not an opinion and is sufficient evidence. In cases where the value is unknown, there must be some competent evidence from which a jury could determine the value of the damage. 

Second degree criminal damage to property is classified as a felony offense. The punishment for a criminal damage to property in the second degree conviction will be a prison term between one and five years.

Practice Note

Georgia Felony Penalties are not to be taken lightly - a felony conviction will completely change all areas of a person's life. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today. We can help you with your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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