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Man Allegedly Vandalizes Civil War-Era Portrait in Texas Capitol

A Fort Worth, Texas, man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly breaking into the State Capitol in Austin to deface a Civil War-era portrait.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers assigned to the capitol’s protection detail observed a man they later identified as Tanner Christian Graeber, 22, climbing a scaffolding and entering the capitol through temporary wooden walkway in place due to renovations. He reportedly climbed to a second story window and broke in, according to a report by KXAN NBC in Austin. The incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

After reportedly breaking the window to obtain entry to the capitol, Graeber intentionally damaged the portrait of former Texas Governor Fletcher Stockdale, DPS officials wrote in the arrest affidavit. He then tossed the portrait over the rotunda railing where it fell three stories to crash on the floor. The frame on the portrait was broken, officials stated.

Fletcher Stockdale Portrait Courtesy Texas State Preservation Board.

Fletcher Stockdale Portrait Courtesy Texas State Preservation Board.

A trooper assigned to protect the capitol and a security officer later found the man inside the historic building and arrested him without incident.

Graeber was charged with felony burglary and criminal mischief equal to or greater than $2,500 but less than $30,000. If convicted, he could spend up to two years in prison on each count.

Fletcher Stockdale served briefly as governor of the Confederate State of Texas in the summer of 1865. He had been elected Lt. Governor in 1863 and succeeded Governor Pendleton Murrah as the state’s chief executive when Murrah fled to Mexico at the end of the Civil War. Murrah, who was suffering tuberculosis at the time, fled to Monterry, Mexico, along with several other leaders of the Confederacy. He died from his illness a few months later, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Stockdale was one of the leaders of the secessionist movement in Texas and served on the committee on resolutions during secession meetings at the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina. He served on the committee that drafted the ordinance of secession and was a signatory of the document. Stockdale was succeeded by Governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton, who was appointed as provisional governor by President Andrew Johnson after the surrender of the Confederate States of America to the Union.

DPS officials have not stated whether the alleged actions by Graeber had anything specifically to do with Governor Stockdale or any kind of anti-Confederacy sentiment.

A records check by Breitbart Texas of the Travis County jail revealed that Graeber is no longer in custody. It is not known if the Fort Worth resident has any prior criminal history.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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