It’s not clear what Christopher Flanagan and Dacotah Hamilton were thinking when they subjected more than 200 cars to a series of pellet gun shooting sprees on the West Bank in late 2013. But it probably didn’t involve hundreds of insurance claims, 25 months of legal wrangling and a conviction that will have each of them paying back their victims to the tune of $264.31 a month for the next five years.
The Marrero duo pleaded guilty Thursday to 209 misdemeanors and eight felonies and will spend the next five years on supervised probation.
Flanagan and Hamilton, now both 22, were enrolled in the 24th Judicial District Court’s marijuana diversion program at the time of the incident. A possession charge against them from earlier that year was refiled after the vandalism, and they also pleaded guilty to it this week.
Judge Steven Enright, of the Gretna court, sentenced them to two years of unsupervised probation for the pot conviction and two years of unsupervised probation for the misdemeanor charges of simple criminal damage to property. Those terms will be served concurrently with five years of supervised probation for the felony convictions.
Flanagan and Hamilton were arrested on Christmas Eve of 2013 and confessed to shooting out car windows on three nights in preceding weeks, acts that left hundreds of Marrero residents frustrated, angry and on the hook for more than $31,000 in damages.
Attorney Joe Marino, who represented Flanagan, said that figure represents the out-of-pocket costs — not what was paid for by insurers — for all the victims whom attorneys were able to contact. He said only about 10 could not be located.
“The length of this case going through the system was primarily due to the sheer number of victims and the restitution amounts that had to be determined,” he said.
Marino said the restitution costs for the eight felony counts — cases in which the damage exceeded $500 — amount to $5,033, while the misdemeanor counts total $26,684.
The highest out-of-pocket cost for a single victim was more than $1,000, according to court records. Marino said most costs were between $200 and $300.
Flanagan and Hamilton will have to pay back their victims over the next 60 months, a process that will be supervised through their probation, though details on how that will happen aren’t clear.
Marino said Flanagan would not comment on the case but had prepared an apology to read in court, although he was not asked to do so. Hamilton was represented by the Jefferson Public Defenders Office.
Marino said his client has come to understand the severity of his and Hamilton’s actions and that what they did was thoughtless and stupid.
Flanagan “spent a month in jail before being released on bond to house arrest and then spent four months on home incarceration as a result of these charges,” Marino said. “He and Mr. Hamilton have expressed deep remorse for their thoughtless actions and will be working to repay each victim over the next five years of probation.”
The judge specified no penalty if they violate the probation, but the sentence for felony criminal damage to property is up to two years in prison, while misdemeanor criminal damage carries up to six months. The restitution would convert to a civil judgment against the men, Marino said.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.