Pittsburgh G20: David Japenga found guilty

David JapengaThe man blamed for much of the damage during protests of the Group of 20 international economic summit was returned to jail yesterday by an Allegheny County judge when a jury convicted the vandal on charges connected to the rampage.

David Japenga, 21, of California tightened his jaw but showed little emotion as the jury convicted him of four misdemeanors and a felony for breaking windows at Citizen’s Bank, Irish Design Center and Quizno’s in Oakland on Sept. 24 while world leaders met a few miles away in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Calling him a danger to the community, Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski revoked Japenga’s bail and sent him to the county jail pending his Nov. 23 sentencing.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” defense attorney Patrick Nightingale said. “We clearly felt the commonwealth evidence fell well short of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Japenga’s friends cried in the hallway and declined comment.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated about four hours before finding Japenga guilty of criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime and giving false identification to police officers.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky argued Japenga was responsible for more than $15,000 in damage to the three businesses on Fifth Avenue and Craig Street. Police arrested about 200 people during demonstrations in Oakland and elsewhere in the city.

The trial hinged on a backpack and the testimony of state Trooper Boyd Wass, who was working undercover in the protest march. He testified he saw Japenga break the windows with a U-shaped bicycle lock with orange markings. Police said they found the same lock in Japenga’s backpack when he was arrested minutes later.

Police said they also found gloves, a bandana and a black windbreaker jacket in the backpack along with shards of glass.

Wass said he lost sight of the window smasher but directed another officer to arrest Japenga — who was then wearing a different color shirt — minutes later when the trooper recognized him by his body shape and by the way he walked.

Nightingale argued Wass simply identified the wrong man and played a video of the protest which showed more than one vandal breaking windows in Oakland. The video showed nearly everyone in the protest had their faces covered and were dressed in black.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: