Crime

Man charged with spray-painting swastikas has been targeting churches, police say

Man charged in Glen Carbon cemetery swastika vandalism

Timothy V. McLean, of Glen Carbon, has been charged in Madison County court in connection with swastikas spray-painted on hundreds of graves in Sunset Hills Cemetery and adjacent houses.
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Timothy V. McLean, of Glen Carbon, has been charged in Madison County court in connection with swastikas spray-painted on hundreds of graves in Sunset Hills Cemetery and adjacent houses.

Court records for the man accused of painting swastikas on graves show a long history of crime, threats and time in and out of mental institutions — as well as accusations that he has been painting swastikas on churches since the beginning of April.

Timothy V. McLean, 34, of Glen Carbon, has been charged with multiple felonies alleging that he spray-painted more than 200 graves with swastikas at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Glen Carbon over Memorial Day weekend. He is also accused of painting swastikas on houses in a nearby Edwardsville subdivision, as well as cars, mailboxes and other property.

But that wasn’t the first swastika he's been accused of painting. Further charges filed Monday allege that McLean has been painting swastikas on churches and residences for at least a couple of months, ranging back to the beginning of April.

McLean is charged with also painting swastikas on St. Cecilia’s Church, Glenview Church of the Nazarene, St. James Lutheran Church and at least two private homes, all in Glen Carbon, beginning about April 1.

He was originally charged with painting swastikas on seven residences, five cars and the entrance building to Sunset Hills Country Club, each a charge of criminal damage to property, a Class 4 felony. He has also been charged with a hate crime, a Class 2 felony.

The additional houses add another charge of criminal damage to property, as well as three charges of institutional vandalism, a Class 2 felony; two more hate crime charges; and violation of the Cemetery Protection Act, a Class 2 felony.

TIMOTHY MCCLEAN.JPG
Timothy V. McLean

All of the charges count as a second offense, as McLean was previously convicted of harassment by telephone after repeatedly calling the Edwardsville Police Department to make racially derogatory comments at them, according to court documents.

He was charged in July 2016, but a psychological evaluation found him mentally unfit to stand trial and he spent a year in the Chester Mental Health Center, the only maximum-security facility in Illinois for those committed via court order.

But in August 2017, he was found mentally fit and pleaded guilty to harassment by telephone, and released with credit for time served in jail and in the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Police released this video of a possible suspect in vandalism at Sunset Hill Cemetery. Swastikas were spray-painted on some 200 grave markers.

McLean's record goes back further than that, to alcohol violations at the age of 16 and a myriad of minor traffic offenses and misdemeanors like possession of cannabis in both Madison and St. Clair counties, gradually increasing to more serious charges.

In 2003 he was charged with taking a swing at a police officer in Edwardsville. He was originally charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, which was pleaded down to court supervision, public service, a year of probation and a fine, with court-ordered mental health treatment.

But already in 2003 and in 2004, he was charged with swerving his car at a neighbor who was walking his dog along the side of the road, with threatening and cursing at another neighbor and with threatening a third man by saying he would "blow a hole in your head."

Swastikas were spray-painted on about 200 grave markers at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Glen Carbon

In 2006 he was charged with residential burglary, and pleaded guilty in return for two years’ probation. In subsequent years he was frequently charged with traffic offenses, but in 2009 he was convicted of threatening a public official and sentenced to two years in prison.

In 2010 he was charged with damaging government property, namely the restroom at a Madison County bus station, but the charges were eventually dropped two years later. In 2011, some of McLean's family members requested and received an order of protection against McClean after an alleged domestic violence incident. The order expired a few years later.

And in 2012, he wrote repeated letters to Madison County Circuit Judge Kyle Napp from jail, writing "LET ME OUT" in large letters across the top and accusing the judicial system of being "crooked."

McLean remains in custody in the Madison County Jail in lieu of two separate $100,000 bails, as set by Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder.

Elizabethe Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald
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