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Graffiti artist apologizes for vandalism

by Sheila Gardner
Staff Writer

A Carson City teenager, who admitted defacing Carson Valley buildings with graffiti that advocated white supremacy and violence to Hispanics, apologized to the community, and was placed on formal probation.

In a statement Matthew Cole Martin submitted to District Judge Dave Gamble on May 27, the 18-year-old asked for forgiveness.

“I had no right to do that to you or anyone else. I am sorry for making you go out and paint over the stupid thing I did. None of you people ever did anything to deserve that,” Martin said in the statement.

Gamble apologized to Martin for referring to him as “an adult racist pig” when he admitted causing damage to several locations on May 6.

“I have a really different perception of you than I did a few weeks ago,” Gamble said. “What I saw as a pervasive lifestyle was just an event. I’m sorry I went as far as I did. It was designed to shame you and humiliate you. It was done on purpose. You recognize what you did was distasteful, disgusting and wrong.”

“The person who did this writing,” Gamble said, holding Martin’s statement, “tells me you are intelligent and capable of having an uplifting life. I want that for you. You need to prove this is the real Matt.”

Martin was ordered to make $1,486.26 restitution. Gamble did not order detention.

Standard juvenile probation terms include 50 hours of community service, drug testing, one-year suspension of drivers’ license, impulse control counseling, no possession of tobacco products, random search and seizure, no association with adults or juveniles on probation and parole or gang members, participation in all court-ordered probation programs.

Parents must agree to enforce all terms of probation and participate in any court-ordered counseling.

Anthony Nicholson, 15, denied the petition charging him with the same offense, and is set for a hearing June 17.

Martin admitted painting swastikas, “white power,” obscenities, racial slurs and pictures of Hispanics being hanged.

He was charged as a juvenile because the offense occurred in March while he was 17.

The graffiti was discovered March 12-13 at several locations including the north wall of the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, the Old Gym Playhouse in front of Carson Valley Middle School, a shed behind One-way Autocare, facing Courthouse Alley, the Heritage Park pavilion floor, the Active 20-30 Clubhouse and a residence in the 1300 block of Toler Lane.

The same graffiti tag was found in Lampe Park and a residence in the 1400 block of Douglas Avenue.

Four areas were sprayed with black paint at Lampe Park with similar markings.

Vandalism was discovered at the east and west pavilion bridge abutments, the field 5 bridge abutment and the field 4 scoreboard.

Three homes on Mica Drive in Indian Hills also were defaced.

“The kids of the Hispanic community had done absolutely nothing to have to go to their middle school and see what I did,” Martin said in his statement. “I am sorry to the entire community, but more to the small children and the older children. No one should have to walk around their town or city and (see) graffiti in it, especially racial graffiti.”