A disabled Marine veteran who was charged after painting an apartment complex picnic table no longer has to fear prosecution.
The misdemeanor destruction of property charge filed against Mickey Triplett was dropped at the prosecutor's request Monday.
The case prompted community outcry, and several veteran's groups stepped forward to help Triplett, who was also kicked out of his Potomac Ridge apartment after painting the table.
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert bumped Triplett's case to the head of the Monday morning docket .
"Judge, I move to nolle proc this charge," said Ebert. The judge then asked Triplett, "I assume that's ok with you?" "Yes, sir!", replied Tripplett.
Outside court afterwards, Triplett credited God and the prosecutor for the outcome.
"Today was a glorious day where the law did exceedingly above all that I could imagine. I think it's because of Him," said Triplett. "I thank Mr. Ebert for being there and being the first in the courtroom to appear. I'd never seen anything like that in my life...I got bumped up"
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Ebert said he started getting calls from the public shortly after the story first appeared in PotomacLocal.com.
The prosecutor said the charge never should have been brought.
"There was no way the Commonwealth could prove criminal intent in this matter. According to him and from the evidence indicated, he was painting -- right or wrong -- the table and he didn't have any intent to destroy it," Ebert said.
Jason Pelt, who is also a Marine veteran, stepped forward to represent Triplett, taking the place of his court appointed counsel. Pelt wasn't needed in court Monday, but said he'll explore whether a civil malicious prosecution case should be pursued against the apartment complex's management.
In other good news for Triplett, the nonprofit Volunteers of America helped him find a new apartment nearby. He was settling in on Friday and teared up as he described how thankful he was for his caseworker.
"That's tears of happiness, because she came to my home," he said. "She said, 'Mr. Triplett, you don't have to worry about anything, we'll take care of you.'"