2 Arrested in Theft of $500K Confederate Monument Chair
By Nick Koutsobinas | Saturday, 10 April 2021 06:32 PM
New Orleans Police have arrested 2 people Saturday in connection to the theft of a confederate monument.
Stanley Warnick and Kathryn Diionno were arrested following the theft of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair. The chair was reportedly stolen by a self-proclaimed activist group calling itself "White Lies Matter" back in March from Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama. Attorneys for Warnick and Diionno said they were not affiliated with any activist group.
"They look forward to clearing their names and disassociating their names from any criminal activity," attorneys Michael Kennedy and Miles Swanson told CNN.
WLM made a statement to AL.com about how they had stolen the stone chair but would return it if the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to hang a banner outside of their Richmond, Virginia, headquarters. The banner which WLM says was delivered to the UDC has a quote from Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army activist.
The banner reads, "The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives."
"This incident is sending Selma back into 'The Twilight Zone,'" Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said, according to CNN.
"There's never a dull moment in Selma."
Jackson reported the chair being worth around $500,000.
"Like most Confederate monuments, [the chair] mostly exists to remind those who's freedom had to be purchased in blood, that there still exists a portion of our country that is more than willing to continue to spill blood to avoid paying that debt down," White Lies Matter wrote in a statement.
"They need to return the chair. It's grand theft," said Patricia Godwin of the United Daughters of the Confederacy's Selma chapter.
"We took their toy, and we don't feel guilty about it," White Lies Matter said, "They never play with it anyway. They just want it there to remind us what they've done, what they are still willing to do. But the south won't rise again. Not as the Confederacy. Because that coalition left out a large portion of its population. All that's left of that nightmare is an obscenely heavy chair that's a throne for a ghost whose greatest accomplishment was treason."
In an update from AL.com on Wednesday, WLM agreed they would return the monument if the UDC hung their banner.
"Failure to do so will result in the monument, an ornate stone chair, immediately being turned into a toilet," WLM said in a statement, CNN reported. "If they do display the banner, not only will we return the chair intact, but we will clean it to boot."
But photos surfaced Wednesday night of the stone chair appearing with a hole carved into it appeared. A man dressed in 19th-century garb appeared on the chair, seeming to use it as a commode.
"As the UDC has given us every indication that they had no intention of hanging the banner, even going as far as declaring our demands, 'fake news,'" WLM's statement read. "White Lies Matter has decided to move forward prematurely with the alteration of the chair. It will be returned to the UDC immediately."
Following the arrest of Warnick and Diionno, the chair has been returned to Selma and "1 most suspect is being sought," Jackson said.
The suspect still out would face criminal charges of theft.