“Matt’s House of Mayhem” wasn’t an ordinary house party.
Party-goers, investigators say, had a mission: Destroy as much of the Merced home and do it with Sharpie pens.
On Tuesday, six men pleaded no contest to vandalism charges stemming from the 2012 incident that resulted in extensive damage to a foreclosed home.
Matthew Clements, 27; James Blaylock, 23; Brian McNeil, 32; Richard Thomas, 22; Jonathan McCarthy, 34; and Timothy De Los Santos, 23, were ordered to each pay $4,000 for their part in the damage, Merced County Deputy Dist. Atty. Walter Wall said. McNeil and Blaylock paid their amounts, so their charges were dismissed.
“Law enforcement takes these cases very seriously,” he said. “You just can’t go around foreclosed homes and start destroying them.”
The party was thrown by Clements in February 2012 at his parents’ Merced home. They had owned the home, but lost it and U.S. Bank took it into their possession, Wall said.
Clements, who had been squatting at the home, decided to host the party and destroy it before a real estate agent was set to inspect it, he said.
Soon, his Facebook party invitation attracted dozens of people, and grew into something resembling “Project X,” a 2012 film about a high schooler throwing a massive and destructive gathering after his parents went away on a trip.
Clements handed out Sharpie pens to party-goers and encouraged them to write anything and everything, Wall said.
The scribbles, he said, were graphic and sexual.
Party-goers -- including his co-defendants -- destroyed walls, doors and windows, and vomited and defecated everywhere, Wall said.
In all, the damage amounted to $24,000.
The real estate agent called investigators after discovering the damage.
But tracking evidence showing the party even occurred was challenging, he said.
McNeil deleted any evidence of the party from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as well as his friends’ cellphones, Wall said.
But he said McNeil forgot to delete videos of the party from his own cellphone.
Sheriff’s investigators were eventually able to link the party to Clements, who Wall said was ordered to serve three years’ probation.
McCarthy, Los Santos and Thomas were also ordered to two years’ probation.
“This is not fun and games,” Wall said. “This is real property.”