Woman Charged in Vandalism at National Cathedral Ordered Held Without Bond

Athena Jones, CNN, July 30, 2013

A woman arrested in connection with the splattering of paint in two locations inside the National Cathedral in Washington was ordered held without bond Tuesday.

Jiamei Tian, 58, has been charged with felony destruction of property. When officers arrested her on Monday, she had green paint on her clothes and shoes, and paint cans were found in three bags she had with her, according to a police report obtained by CNN.

Jiamei Tian

Jiamei Tian

If found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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A Mandarin interpreter was brought in to assist her during the proceedings.

According to court documents, Tian had a visa allowing her to be in the United States that expired on Saturday. She traveled on a Chinese passport.

Prosecutors argued she was a serious flight risk with no fixed address.

“She’s been in the community for only a few days, and the government would argue that there is strong evidence that the defendant’s presence in the district is for no other purpose than to deface national monuments and landmarks,” said prosecutor Kevin Chambers.

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In other incidents, green paint was used recently to deface the Lincoln Memorial, a statue of Martin Luther in Thomas Circle and a statue in front of a Smithsonian building, the court documents said.

Paint

Tian was not immediately tied to those events, and her lawyer, Nancy Glass, argued there is no evidence directly connecting Tian to them.

Her clothes were sent to a forensics team to determine whether the paint on them matches the paint at the other locations.

Another landmark in Washington — Luther Place Memorial Church — was also defaced. The court documents allege that a woman matching Tian’s description was seen at the church Sunday. The church is right next to the defaced statue of Martin Luther.

White paint mixed with urine and feces was splattered on the church’s organ.

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