Vandal who scrawled racist graffiti in East Price Hill home was former tenant, say police and owners

Posted at 7:59 PM, Dec 14, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The person who vandalized a mixed-race couple’s East Price Hill home with swastikas and racist graffiti was a disgruntled former tenant with an extensive criminal background, according to police and the home's owners.

Lt. Steve Saunders said Samuel Whitt, who with his fiancee rented a home belonging to Pat and Joe Jude until early November, has been charged with felony breaking and entering as well as felony vandalism. Whitt stands accused of scrawling 'white power' on the walls of the home, pouring cement into the plumbing and paint onto the appliances.

"I hope he is held accountable for what he did," Pat Jude said. "This has been a horrible experience."

The damage had made the home uninhabitable, according to the Judes. They needed to replace paint, drywall, ceilings and appliances, among other items.

"The list is never-ending," Pat Jude said.

Whitt also has a criminal history. He was convicted in a vandalism case involving similar backward swastikas and derogatory language painted on and in Saint William Church in 2013. He and a friend pleaded guilty and served 32 days in jail for that offense. 

After that stint in jail, Whitt violated his probation, according to court records. His probation was extending until April of next year.

Just in November, Whitt was also charged after court records say he shattered a glass door at a home near the church after fighting with his girlfriend.

Back in 1996, Whitt spent four years in prison for aggravated armed robbery.

"We had no idea he was like this," Pat Jude said.

Pat Jude said she and her husband had leased the bottom floor of the house to Whitt and his fiancee, but evicted them in November when they could no longer pay their rent. The Judes gave the pair multiple chances to pay and attempted to work with them, Pat said, but could not come to an agreement.

When WCPO asked the Judes Dec. 6 about whether the vandalism could have been the work of an ex-tenant, Pat Jude said she was stunned by the anger behind the crime.

"It hurts," she said. "It just hurts so much. I can't imagine that, even if it ended up being a disgruntled [tenant]. It's still not OK."

Online donors from all over the world raised more than $67,000 to help the Judes repair the damage to the home, which they had eventually hoped to move into. The amount raised surpassed the original fundraising goal by so much that Pat Jude said she hoped to donate some of the excess to suicide prevention organizations in her late son’s name.  

Several organizations also reached out to the couple, asking how they could help. Pat Jude said she's hoping to get them all together to plan an anti-hate event using some of the surplus funds from the Gofundme donations. She said she wants it to be "something big" to show that the community is together and most people don't have hate. 

"I want to replace [the graffiti] with two words, and that's 'American power,' because Cincinnati has showed that with the support and love they gave," Pat Jude said.