Sentencing on hold for man accused of vandalizing Robert E. Lee statue in Fort Myers

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers (WINK News)

The future of David Howes, who was accused of vandalizing the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers, is on hold.

At issue? Making sure all the rights of the victims identified as the City and defendant are covered under the constitution.

David Howes (LCSO)

The Sons of Confederate Veterans says the vandalism of the statue is a hate crime. They also claim they’re the victims, not just the City of Fort Myers.

“The State has attempted to change the charge and identify the City of Fort Myers,” said Sawyer Smith on behalf of Howes.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans showed up in court today alongside the attorney for the man accused of smashing the statue.

Howes’ attorney told the court he’s negotiating with the State Attorney’s Office son a criminal mischief charge.

“I was able to work with the City of Fort Myers, who is listed as the victim. I understand that there is a dispute about that; we obviously have to go by what the state lists. I wish I could pick a lot of things,” he said.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say that’s not enough. They want Howes to face a hate crime charge but appreciated that the judge acknowledged all victims’ rights.

“Every victim is entitled to the following rights beginning at the time at his or her victimization,” said the judge.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans said justice means a conviction and Howes identifying other people caught on camera knocking down the statue.

Howes’ attorney hopes to finalize a plea deal early next month with the State attorney and with the City of Fort Myers as the only listed victim.

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