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He Was High and Mad. His Crime: Toppling Jewish Headstones

Alzado Harris sentenced to probation for 2017 incident in University City, Missouri
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2019 7:50 AM CDT
Alzado Harris.   (University City Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – When Alzado Harris went to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., in February 2017, he was inebriated, high on pot, and peeved at a friend. That's what led to his next act, he confessed to police, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: knocking over more than 100 headstones in the Jewish graveyard. Court documents note Harris caused more than $30,000 in damage, and on Thursday the 35-year-old pleaded guilty to felony institutional vandalism. He was sentenced that day as well, earning three years of probation, a $5,000 restitution fine, and a mandate that he stay employed full time and take an anger management class.

Harris was arrested more than a year after the incident after officials say his DNA was tied to DNA found on a jacket left at the scene; his DNA had previously been obtained when he spent four months in prison for a 2016 break-in. Despite what Harris did, however, officials determined it wasn't a hate crime or otherwise anti-Semitic. "There is no evidence to indicate the incident was racially, ethnically, or religiously motivated," a University City police release said at the time. St. Louis Public Radio notes that if he doesn't complete his three-year probation, Harris will see a suspended sentence of five years behind bars. (Read more Missouri stories.)

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