WASHINGTON - A Virginia veteran who was charged with destruction of property and evicted last year after trying to spruce up his apartment complex by painting a picnic table had his charges dropped.
Mickey Triplett, a disabled Marine veteran and a retired Washington D.C. corrections officer, was facing a charges that carried a $2,500 fine and a year in jail.
Last July, a maintenance worker reported him to managers at the Potomac Ridge Apartments after spotting Triplett giving the table a fresh coat of white paint. They called the police and pressed charges.
Triplett was kicked out of his apartment even though he had just re-signed his lease. He had no one to help him move and lost valuables during the process.
For the past several months, with little money and failing health, Triplett and his public defender have been fighting management.
And in court, the tables were turned. The charges were dropped and Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert made an appearance to personally withdraw what he deemed severe charges.
"It's an old picnic table that I painted white," said Triplett. "I didn't paint graffiti on it or anything like that. It was actually improved. The police officer said it. He said it in court. I'm glad and I give honor to honesty when you are asked something and when you tell the truth."
Along with having the charges dropped, Triplett was also awarded $6,500 in return for the pain and suffering caused from his eviction. The judge declared that Triplett was maliciously sought after by Potomac Ridge Apartments and should never have been charged in the first place.
"If you asked me if I would do it again, I would always help someone. That is in my nature and I would want the same type of help extended to me, even if it does get me into trouble sometimes. If it means helping somebody that needs help, I'm going to help them."
Potomac Ridge Apartment has yet to comment on the matter.