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Friday, July 01, 2022

Grapski released from jail after pleading no contest

Charles Grapski, 43, was released from jail Thursday after he spent 91 days locked up on two misdemeanor charges.

A trial was held for the controversial political activist, known for going on hunger strikes protesting what he saw as his unfair jail sentences.

Grapski was arrested Oct. 12 after he reportedly broke the door window at the house of his friend of eight years and entered without permission while the man had guests over.

The first witness, owner of the house Mark Kiester, said he instructed one of the guests to call 911 after Grapski broke the window.

At the scene, Gainesville Police officers told Kiester to choose whether officers should write Grapski a notice to appear in court or physically arrest him, said State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann.

Kiester said he chose to have Grapski physically arrested because his guest wouldn't stay if Grapski was in the area.

Grapski was arrested at 3:13 a.m. and charged with criminal mischief and trespassing.

He was placed in the Alachua County Jail without bond because this arrest violated his terms of probation from two past felonies, Mann said. Grapski will go to trial for the felonies in the next two months.

About a week later, Kiester went to the State Attorney's office to explain what happened before the arrest.

He told Attorney David Margolis that Grapski was knocking on the door asking to come in after Kiester had told him to leave. After breaking the glass, he entered the kitchen through a side door and asked Kiester to help him find his glasses, the GPD arrest report stated.

On Dec. 16, Kiester e-mailed the State Attorney's office asking for charges against Grapski to be dropped. He told the court that when he first spoke to Margolis he was still shaken and not thinking clearly.

Kiester had previously told the State Attorney's office that Grapski was following him around the house shouting at him. But at the trial, Kiester said Grapski was kindly asking for his glasses.

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Kiester added that he thinks Grapski unintentionally broke the window.

Grapski's defense attorney, Stephen Bernstein, asked Kiester if he had spoken to anyone that may have influenced his decision to drop the charges, and Kiester said he hadn't been influenced.

Despite Kiester's request, the State Attorney's office had believed that Kiester was pressured into the decision and refused, Mann said.

Grapski pled no contest to disorderly conduct. Judge Thomas Jaworski found him guilty of that charge, reinstated bond and sentenced him to six months probation, during which he cannot drink or come in contact with Kiester, Mann said.

Both misdemeanor charges were dropped and Grapski was told he would be let out of jail later that evening.

Because he was in jail for three months, there will be three months taken off his probation time.

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