People protest at Calvert High School on Aug. 14 in response to racist words written on the school's football field.

Local jurors have alleged an early August incident at Calvert High School was more than just vandalism — it was a manifestation of hate. On Monday, a Calvert County grand jury handed down five three-count indictments against the alleged perpetrators of the incident.

The 18-year-old defendants — identified in police and court records as Augustine Aufderheide and Kyle Hill, both of Prince Frederick, Cade Meredith and Anthony Sellers, both of St. Leonard, and Andrew Edge of Huntingtown — were each charged with hate crime, property destruction and fourth degree burglary.

The indictments, or formal charges, were announced by the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the defendants' cases now head to circuit court.

The five men are alleged to have vandalized the Calvert High School football field by writing “n----rs sucks” and “f—k n----rs” on the grass playing field. All five defendants are Calvert High graduates and are identified in court records as white.

Four of the defendants turned themselves into police the day after the incident is alleged to have occurred. Aufderheide, Hill, Edge and Sellers told investigators they “don’t hate anyone and they were just making poor decisions,” Dfc. Dean Naughton of the Calvert County Sheriff's office stated in charging papers.

The deputy’s report provided details of interviews conducted by the Calvert sheriff’s office, alleging the men obtained a can of spray paint during the early morning hours of Aug. 9 and went to Calvert High School “with the intent of spray-painting the field. While they were on school property they decided to go to the baseball field and make entry into the baseball shed where they used bats to strike the walls causing holes in the walls.”

A press release from Calvert County Public Schools stated the vandalized field with racist graffiti was discovered by individuals exercising on the field later that day.

Images of the graffiti were posted on social media, prompting a barrage of comments from individuals denouncing the crime. The initial charges, served through criminal summons, against the five men were for malicious destruction of property and fourth-degree burglary.

The initial lack of hate crime charges prompted at least one demonstration in the high school parking lot.

“Since the date of the incident, the state’s attorney’s office with the assistance of the sheriff’s [office] detectives, has continued its investigation and review of this matter," Calvert State’s Attorney Robert Harvey said in a release. “Today’s indictments are the culmination of this investigation.”

The hate crime and burglary charges both carry maximum penalties of three years in jail.

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