Charged: Two grads alleged vandals

Two recent Monticello High grads have been charged in the pre-dawn backhoe rampage that caused thousands of dollars of damage the morning before graduation.

Jesse Lee McDaniel and Joseph J. Bordt are charged with felony unauthorized use of a vehicle, felony destruction of property, and trespassing in the June 5 joy ride that trashed the MHS football and track fields, causing between $65,000 and $75,000 in damage.

Monticello High and its Boosters Club offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators whose senior prank ran amok and cast a pall on the Class of 2004's graduation ceremonies.

"A couple of people came forward and gave parts of the story," says Sgt. Duane Karr, who is in charge of school resource officers for the Albemarle police. "It took a lot of work on the investigators' part."

Police obtained warrants for the arrest of the two, and McDaniel turned himself in June 22, according to Sgt. Shawn Schwertfeger. He was released on a $25,000 secure bond, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 5.

"He didn't just turn himself in," says his mother, Marcia McDaniel. "They were up here looking for him."

She declined to comment on her son's arrest. "We're not saying anything because he's not guilty," she says.

Bordt had joined the Marines and arrived at Parris Island, South Carolina, for basic training the week of June 7, according to Captain Jamie Nott in the Marine Corps public affairs office.

"He's being processed for separation from the Marine Corps and will be sent back to Charlottesville," says Nott. "I know it's related to the charges there."

Recruits can't show up for training with any pending legal action, "even a speeding ticket," says Nott. "Theoretically, if he's acquitted, we could take him back."

On June 28, Bordt had not yet been arrested, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe.

The Class 6 felonies carry penalties of 1 to 5 years each, and a misdemeanor trespassing conviction could bring up to 12 months in jail.

Police don't know who actually drove the backhoe that knocked down the goal posts on the football field and tore up the track before coming to rest atop the 300 chairs set out for graduation.

"At least one of them knew what to do," says Karr.

Jesse McDaniel is one of two men charged in the damage at Monticello High. His mother says he's not guilty.


Damage to the track alone is estimated at $43,000.