Two Buncombe County inhabitants have been convicted of vandalizing property owned by Jonas Gerard, a local abstract artist. Court papers show both will follow jail time and owe the artist a combined total of more than $34,000 in compensation fees.
29-year-old Raphael Demetrius Morales, of Asheville, pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor damage to personal property and one count of misdemeanor resisting to be caught. Police state that the 29-year-old was responsible for the demolition of Gerard’s installation in Asheville Regional Airport in early 2019, as well as harm to another painting at the end of a live show by the artist.
The 29-year-old sentenced to 45 days in prison and 60 months monitored probation. The 29-year-old has been ordered to give Gerard $29,950 in compensation and the district court more than $350 in court costs. Court papers show that Morales must give Gerard the full amount by June 2024.
23-year-old Lazlo Redmond, of Arden, was also convicted of misdemeanor damage to personal property after pleading not guilty. Police say that the 23-year-old was also linked in the incident in which black paint was thrown at a painting at the end of a live performance by the artist.
Redmond advanced to the superior court, but a jury confirmed the misdemeanor conviction. The 23-year-old will serve 30 days in prison with 18 months of monitored probation and must give Gerard $4,425 in restitution by June 2024. Redmond also owes the court around $1,350 in fees from the superior court appeal, court papers show. He was found not guilty of a charge of misdemeanor opposing a public officer.
These incidents were part of a spate of destruction against the local artist amid accusations of physical assault against Gerard.
The words “molester” and “predator” have been sprayed on the property owned by the artist, and Gerard has stated stickers in the River Arts District that call him a physical predator. Many billboards advertising Gerard’s galleries have been cut. On May 8, 2019, what seemed to be feces was spread across his van’s driver window, spelling out an oath, according to a photo shared online by Gerard’s staff.
Gerard rejects the physical assault allegations, and his spokespeople call the acts of vandalism as “rogue terrorist actions.”
Morales and Redmond said in 2019 that they do not directly know anyone who has accused the artist of physical misconduct but that they think the accusations against him.
Sources tried to meet with the victims that made the allegations against Gerard, but none has agreed to speak directly.
Allen Brasington, Gerard’s spokesman, said that Gerard is happy with the decisions and the compensation fees, which were equal to the full amount Gerard’s legal team demanded based on the sale prices of paintings of comparable size and content.