TRC Quicktake: The Howard’s Rock Vandalism Verdict

Moments ago a verdict was announced at the Circuit Court in Pickens, South Carolina.  The trial, which took almost a full week of court to bring to conclusion, was the State of South Carolina vs. Micah Rogers.  The charges were Malicious Damage to Property and Grand Larceny.

But you probably know it as the Howard’s Rock Trial.

The trial centered on whether or not the state could prove that Mr. Rogers (a professed Clemson fan) damaged the venerated monolith and remove a significant chunk of the South’s Most Famous Doorstop.  Expert testimony was offered during the trial that the rock in question was actually an orange quartz, not a sandstone or limestone deposit as would be expected if its claimed desert origin were genuine.  While not explicitly stated, the fair conclusion from the expert was that Howard’s Rock is, and always has been, a fraud, and was probably just a throwaway field stone that a friend of Frank Howard (or Howard himself) built a cute lie around.

Regardless, it appears from the verdict (Guilty on Malicious Damage to Property, but Not Guilty on Grand Larceny) that the jury believed Mr. Rogers committed the dastardly act, but that the property he carried away was not worth anything.

Put another way, today’s verdict stands for the proposition that it’s wrong to damage another’s property, even when that property is worthless.