Home News Two Marines charged in connection to an incident in a college dormitory

Two Marines charged in connection to an incident in a college dormitory

(L) Hayden Drew Pritchard, 22, of Chula Vista, CA, (R) Sergio Pimentel Delgado, 21, of Baldwin Park, CA. Photo via University of Maryland Police Department

Dan Belson
Baltimore Sun

Two U.S. Marines were charged earlier this month with misdemeanor offenses stemming from racist graffiti found throughout a dormitory at University of Maryland, College Park last year.

The Marine accused of writing racial epithets last April in multiple locations within the campus’ La Plata Hall, 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Hayden Drew Pritchard, is charged with a misdemeanor hate crime offense in addition to trespassing. Lance Cpl. Sergio Delgado, a 21-year-old who the university’s police department said accompanied Pritchard into the building, is charged with trespassing following the lengthy investigation between the college’s police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Campus police responded shortly after 9 a.m. on April 29, 2023, to the dormitory, where residential staff and police found racial epithets written in multiple locations throughout the building’s eighth and ninth floors, charging papers say. Investigators reviewed surveillance footage where they saw two men, later identified as Pritchard and Delgado, entering the building at about 1:45 a.m. that morning, entering by following behind students who had access, police wrote.

They were seen leaving the building just over 15 minutes later, with one discarding a marker before the two got into a ride booked through Uber. Charging papers say investigators later traced where the Uber was headed for its drop-off — the U.S. Marine Barracks in Washington.

Interviewed by investigators later, both Marines admitted to entering the building without having a purpose to be there, and Pritchard said that he didn’t “doubt that I probably did it,” police wrote in charging papers. The 22-year-old said he did remember the marker, and that was “probably what I was writing stuff with.”

“I’m really sorry, but I don’t remember doing that,” Pritchard said, according to charging papers.

Neither of the Marines had defense attorneys listed in court records Wednesday afternoon. Both men, who campus police said had addresses in California, enlisted into the Marine Corps in January 2022, the Washington barracks said in a statement.

They both graduated recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego that April as well as infantry school at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton a few months after that. They reported to the barracks in Washington in December 2022, according to the Marines.

Both are scheduled for a late March appearance at Prince George’s County District Court in Hyattsville.

The service members’ charges “reflect conduct that is inconsistent with the exceedingly high standards the United States Marine Corps expects of its Marines,” the barracks said in the statement.

“Should these charges be substantiated, [Delgado and Pritchard] will be held fully accountable for their actions,” the statement said.

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