Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pretrial diversion denied for man in graffiti case



KINGSPORT — A 19-year-old Kingsport man has been denied pretrial diversion on a vandalism charge alleging he spray painted graffiti that police have described as “racist, obscene and threatening to President Obama” on an I-26 overpass.
Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Gene Perrin announced his decision to deny pretrial diversion for Andy B. Frye, 1608 Seaver Road, on Friday afternoon in Blountville court.

Frye did not ask the judge to review Perrin’s decision, which would be the usual request to follow such a denial. Perrin said afterward that he did not know why Frye opted not to make the request.
Frye’s presentencing report was still under seal Friday afternoon, so it was not possible to determine what factors went into Perrin’s decision not to grant pretrial diversion.
Frye had asked for pretrial diversion in January following his arraignment on a charge of vandalism over $500 in Blountville court. Frye was indicted on the charge in September 2009.
According to a Kingsport Police Department news release issued after Frye’s arrest, the vandalism on the Meadowview Parkway I-26 overpass was reported on April 19. Some of the graffiti referred to Obama as “the modern Hitler,” while other beams on the underpass read “all blacks must die” and “KKK.”
Photos of the graffiti are posted on the Web site of the Douglass Alumni Association, a community group based in the Riverview section of Kingsport.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the graffiti that was found spray-painted on the I-26 underpass at Meadowview a year ago, click here.

Detective Chris Tincher said Frye was developed as a suspect following a report on the vandalism that was aired by WCYB-TV. Anonymous tipsters then contacted Kingsport police and implicated Frye.
Tipsters said Frye had also posted racist and anti-Obama comments on the Internet, but authorities were unable to verify those claims, Tincher said.
After pretrial diversion was denied, Frye was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to his charge. He is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 16.