Holy Family parishioners react to vandals' sentence
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After two teens were sentenced for vandalizing Holy Family Catholic Church, parishioners were still searching for answers.
"None of us ever thought it would have happened," Victoria resident Mary Uptmor said Monday. "We felt violated. They came on our property and messed everything up. We felt like our rights were violated by them coming in here doing what they did."
Dan Jalufka was also bothered by the incident.
"I feel it was about as low as you can go," he said.
The teens involved with the January vandalism of Holy Family Catholic Church were sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday.
Donald William Hutcheson Jr., 19, of Humble, and Michael Ray Clark, 19, of Huffman, were sentenced by District Judge Robert Cheshire, according to a press release from the district attorney's office.
Assistant District Attorneys Eli E. Garza and Vanessa Heinold tried the cases.
"If they were proven guilty, then they should do the time," church secretary Marjorie Tasin said.
The two were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity for their involvement in vandalizing and burglarizing the church office Jan. 21.
The Rev. Greg Korenek said the culprits broke windows, threw a cross through a window, turned over bookshelves and turned a fire extinguisher on in a room, causing about $22,000 worth of total damage that was paid for mostly by insurance.
Additionally, Korenek said, $3,000 was stolen from a safe.
"It's just very disheartening. The question is why do people do stuff like that," he said. "It's so destructive."
Korenek could only speculate why the men committed the crime.
"I don't think it was a hate crime," he said.
With the help of parishioners and a professional cleaning service, Korenek said, most of the remnants of the crime had been cleaned up within six weeks of the incident.
Hutcheson and Clark were also sentenced to 20 months in a state jail for burglarizing Morgan Building and Spas, a local business. The case of two other 16-year-olds arrested in the vandalism was being handled in juvenile court.