HOLMBERG: Deal would keep juveniles in suicide memorial case from facing felony trials

Posted at 12:08 AM, Jul 04, 2013

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - CBS 6 has learned there’s a deal in the works to allow the juveniles charged with felony property damage in the Hampton Park suicide memorial case an opportunity to pay their share of the restitution costs rather than face trials on these serious charges.

So far, 13 people have been charged with defacing a state pedestrian tunnel in this sprawling Chesterfield County subdivision - or conspiring to paint it (both felonies) - after 17-year-old Cal Reilly hanged himself at the favorite hangout spot just four days from his Cosby High School graduation.

In the days after his June 2 death, dozens of Cal’s  friends spray painted messages of love and remembrance on the tunnel as part of an impromptu memorial and collective grief session.

Ten of those charged are juveniles.

Micheal Vellejo is a parent of one of those juveniles.  He called Chesterfield’s juvenile prosecutor’s office Wednesday and was told about the deal that would reportedly keep the juveniles’ records clean.

“My son is much happier tonight, “ Vallejo said.

He and another parent were told by a juvenile prosecutor that letters would be sent to the homes of those charged early next week. Vallejo praised the commonwealth’s attorneys office.

“I think they’re doing the right thing,” he said.

We talked to that prosecutor Wednesday evening,  but she declined to discuss the matter.

It’s unclear what will happen to the three adults – two of them teens – also charged with felonies in this case.

Also, the Hampton Park Homeowners Association Board broke its silence, saying board members didn’t seek to press charges against anyone, that the arrest warrants were issued by a magistrate after police testimony. In fact, the board said it requested “a non-criminal punishment option that included full restitution” to the Homeowner’s Association for the $1,500 it paid a contractor to paint over the graffiti.

As far as the repainting of the tunnel, the board said it simply followed its charter, hiring a bonded contractor to do the work properly and safely.

You can read the full statement from the board here:

CBS 6 will follow this situation as it unfolds after the July 4 holiday.