Warwick Man Pleads Guilty to Felonies of Tampering with Physical Evidence and Conspiracy as a Hate Crime in connection with the Spray-Painting of Swastikas and other Anti-Semitic Symbols at Jewish Cemetery in Warwick during the overnight hours of October 8, 2016 into the early morning hours of October 9, 2016
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Eric Carbonaro, 18, of Warwick, pled guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to Tampering with Physical Evidence and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree as a hate crime, both of which are felonies. The charges stem from an investigation into the spray-painting of swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols at the Beth Shalom Cemetery in the Town of Warwick during the overnight hours of October 8, 2016 into the early morning hours of October 9, 2016.
The New York State Police, and the Town of Warwick Police Department, aided by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, had investigated the damage done to the Beth Shalom Cemetery in Warwick during the overnight hours of October 8, 2016 into the early morning hours of October 9, 2016, when images of swastikas, the words “Heil Hitler” and Nazi “SS” symbols were found spray-painted on walls and headstones in the cemetery.
At the time he pled guilty, Carbonaro admitted that he took part in a conspiracy to damage property at the cemetery by spray-painting the anti-Semitic symbols and messages, and acted in concert with others to destroy evidence of the commission of that crime by deleting images and other information pertaining to desecration of the cemetery, which were contained on cellular telephones belonging to two other co-conspirators. Carbonaro also admitted to asking his co-conspirators to change their testimony relating to the investigation. Finally, Carbonaro admitted that he committed the conspiracy in whole or substantial part due to his belief or perception regarding the ancestry and religion of people buried in the cemetery.
District Attorney Hoovler commended the New York State Police and the Town of Warwick Police Department for their diligent investigation and thanked them for their assistance with the grand jury’s investigation.
“This is a case that has to be taken extremely seriously, to send a clear message that there is absolutely no room for the hateful desecration of religious property here in Orange County,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Given the seriousness of these crimes, we will be recommending a sentence that includes incarceration. It is our view that this was not simply a youthful indiscretion, but rather a premeditated hate crime. These anti-Semitic symbols and messages do not reflect the values of the overwhelming majority of Orange County and Warwick residents. Those who engage in hate crimes will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted by my office. I thank the New York State Police and the Town of Warwick Police Department for all the resources that they have devoted to this investigation. The investigation into this matter will continue.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek, who also aided in the investigation.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.