Former Hickman student given probation for carving racial slur into vehicle

Monday, April 15, 2013 | 8:08 p.m. CDT; updated 9:10 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 15, 2013

COLUMBIA — A former Hickman High School student was sentenced Monday to five years probation for scratching a racial slur on a student's car.

Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler sentenced Weslie Kendrick McWilliams, 19, to a suspended sentence of seven years in prison. He will only serve that time if he's found to be in violation of the conditions of his probation.

On Feb. 3, 2012, McWilliams, used a house key to carve the slur into the vehicle. McWilliams was a 17-year-old sophomore at Hickman at the time. He was suspended from school.

McWilliams pleaded guilty in March to the class C felony of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle.

His defense attorney, Kimberly Shaw, said her client had begun GED classes and had been seeking behavioral help since his suspension from Hickman.

Before Oxenhandler granted McWilliams the suspended sentence, he told the defendant how displeased he was with what he'd done.

"It was inexcusable to do what you did," Oxenhandler said to McWilliams.

"Yes, sir," McWilliams said.

"I don't want to see you jaywalk," Oxenhandler told McWilliams, explaining to him that if he were to break his probation, Oxenhandler would send him to prison.

The Boone County Prosecutor's office asked that no contact with the victim be included in the sentencing assessment report.

Oxenhandler also told McWilliams to write a letter of apology to the victim, addressed to the court, within 10 days. Oxenhandler said he would decide if the letter was genuine enough to pass along to the victim.

"It had better be a good letter," Oxenhandler said.

McWilliams was first charged with second-degree property damage motivated by discrimination, a hate crime. Shaw explained that negotiations with the prosecution turned the hate crime into the first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle charge.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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