Crime & Courts

Charge dropped against Davidson man in Confederate monument vandalism case

Do Confederate memorials honor soldiers killed in war or memorialize racism?

A Confederate monument in Cornelius was vandalized Sunday, a day after violence between white supremacists and counter-protesters left a woman dead and dozens of people injured in Charlottesville, Va.
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A Confederate monument in Cornelius was vandalized Sunday, a day after violence between white supremacists and counter-protesters left a woman dead and dozens of people injured in Charlottesville, Va.

Prosecutors have dropped a vandalism charge and dismissed the case against a 28-year-old Davidson, North Carolina, man accused of defacing a Confederate soldier monument in neighboring Cornelius, court records show.

Police in 2017 charged Maxwell Montague Sommer with misdemeanor injury to property after the memorial was defaced with an “X” in blue spray paint over the words “Our Confederate Soldiers,” The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.

The memorial, an obelisk topped by the statue of a soldier, is privately owned by the Mt. Zion Monumental Association, the Observer previously reported. An arrest warrant affidavit estimated the damage at $1,500.

Mecklenburg County prosecutors agreed earlier this month to dismiss the case after Sommer successfully completed a year in the county court system’s pretrial diversion program, according to court records. Such programs, created under state statute, are typically for people charged with misdemeanor crimes, according to the Mecklenburg County criminal justice services website.

Court records do not list the conditions Sommer had to meet under the program. Attempts by The Charlotte Observer to reach Sommer by phone on Friday were unsuccessful.

“Supervision requirements, which vary by risk level, may include weekly office visits, substance abuse screening, and referral to community resources,” according to the county website. “Defendants violating the supervision contract are terminated from the program and returned to jail.”

Maxwell Sommer.jpg
Mecklenburg County jail


The monument was one of three local memorials that were previously vandalized in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof massacred nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C.

The Cornelius monument was defaced with wording in black ink, including the phrases, “Dear White People: This Monument is Offensive” and “Stop Honoring White Supremacy,” the Lake Norman Citizen newspaper reported at the time.

On Thursday, an Orange County judge sentenced two defendants to 24 hours in jail for their involvement in the 2018 overturning of the Silent Sam Confederate statue at UNC-Chapel Hill, the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported. The judge dismissed charges against two others in the case..

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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