MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Felony damage to property charges have come down on three men accused of hacking down trees at Faribault High School and Faribault Soccer Complex, including one red maple that was a memorial to a student who died.
Nineteen-year-old Isaac Chavie, of Morristown, 18-year-old Christian Morales, of Faribault, and 18-year-old Cody Schuette, of Morristown, were all charged via summons with first-degree damage to property, according to documents filed in Rice County.READ MORE: What A North Minneapolis Elementary School Is Doing To Help Traumatized Students
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Morales and Schuette are slated to appear in court in early July. Chavie’s summons date was not listed in the documents.
The charges against the men stem from an investigation after six trees were cut down in the early morning hours of May 4 at Faribault High School and Faribault Soccer Complex.READ MORE: 'This Cannot Continue': Minnesota Leaders React To Deadly Texas School Shooting
One of the felled trees at the soccer complex was a memorial to Faribault student Nicholas Paulson, who died in 2006. The red maple was planted during a dedication shortly after the soccer player’s death, and a remembrance plaque was placed at the bottom.
According to the criminal complaints, surveillance video of the parking lots at the school and soccer complex showed a maroon pickup that led investigators to Schuettes. A search of the car produced a saw with fresh tree shavings and Schuettes admitted to investigators that he and his two friends all participated in cutting down the trees.
Schuettes told authorities that he sawed trees down while Chavie hacked some down with a hatchet. Chavie also admitted to cutting down the trees, but Morales told authorities that while he was with his friends that night he told them repeatedly he wanted to leave and that the tree with a plaque was special.MORE NEWS: 'They All Have A Different Story': Save The Boards Reminds Mpls. Of Impact Of George Floyd's Murder
The felled trees were left at the parking lots at the school and soccer complex, the complaint states. The estimated cost to replace the trees is around $3,000.