Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announces that Eric Carbonaro, 18, of Warwick, was remanded to custody in the Orange County Jail by County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown, pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2019.
On Feb. 21, 2018, Carbonaro had pled guilty 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 October 2016 spray-painting of swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols at the Beth Shalom Cemetery in the Town of Warwick.
The District Attorney’s Office recommended that Carbonaro be sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation, and recommended that Carbonaro not be sentenced as a “youthful offender,” a designation the court can impose that replaces a felony conviction and relieves a youth of a criminal record. In effect, the court placed Carbonaro on interim probation supervision, with a jail component, leaving open the determination about Carbonaro’s sentence and about whether the court will grant Carbonaro youthful offender status.
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 Oct. 8 into Oct. 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 the desecration of the cemetery from two other coconspirators’ cellphones. Carbonaro also admitted to asking his coconspirators 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 prosecution.
“Our decision to oppose the court’s granting this defendant youthful offender status was based in large part on his utter failure to take responsibility for his actions,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “This is a case that must be taken extremely seriously, and we must send a clear message that there is no room for the hateful desecration of religious property in Orange County. Given the seriousness of these crimes, the only appropriate sentence is one 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. My office will thoroughly investigate and prosecute those who commit hate crimes.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek, who also aided in the investigation.