Arrest made in cemetery vandalism

Camas man, 21, accused of damaging 15 headstones at Camas Cemetery

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Camas man appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of vandalizing 15 headstones late Tuesday in Camas Cemetery.

Michael D. Garwood, 21, faces possible charges at his Nov. 1 arraignment of second-degree malicious mischief and 15 counts of violating laws protecting cemeteries.

Judge David Gregerson held Garwood on $5,000 bail and appointed Vancouver attorney Christie Emrich to defend him. He was still in custody at midday Friday, according to a Clark County Jail log.

Garwood is accused of vandalizing the headstones after a night of drinking with four friends. The group was drinking at a house in Camas when they decided to go for a walk, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

During the walk, one of the friends said she wanted to see her grandparents' grave at the Camas Cemetery, 630 N.E. Oak St., the affidavit says.

The group of five entered the cemetery, where two of the friends separated from the rest of the group, the affidavit says. They later rejoined the other three, who had gathered around the grandparents' grave, the affidavit says.

One witness told Camas police that Garwood was holding a piece of a broken headstone and threw it on the grandparents' grave, according to the court document.

When confronted with the allegations, Garwood at first denied knowing about the vandalized headstones, the affidavit says. Some of the headstones were broken or toppled and came from the cemetery's Pioneer Section, which contains the oldest graves.

Garwood told police that he picked up a piece of concrete near the grandparents' grave and took some flowers from another grave to place on the grandparents' grave, according to the affidavit. He also said that he spit, and that some spittle accidentally landed on the grandparents' grave.

Garwood later acknowledged that the vandalism happened but blamed it on one of his friends, the affidavit says. No one else had been arrested in connection with the case as of Friday afternoon, but the case remains under investigation, said Sgt. Scot Boyles, a Camas police spokesman.