Charges dropped against former student Carlos Wilcox for menorah vandalism

Wilcox alleges that Zachary Wang ’20 was responsible for the shooting of seven lightbulbs of a menorah on the Green during Hanukkah in December 2020.

by Frank Blackburn | 5/17/22 5:10am

Source: Courtesy of Parker Pickett

On April 8, Grafton County prosecutors dropped a felony criminal mischief charge against Carlos Wilcox, who was indicted by the Grafton County Superior Court in September 2021, according to court documents. Wilcox was initially charged for allegedly shooting at a public menorah display on the Green and other buildings on campus with a BB gun on the night of Dec. 15, 2020. Wilcox is a former member of the Class of 2023 who left the College in the fall of 2021. Entering into an agreement with prosecutors last month, Wilcox admitted to purchasing the gun and being present when the incident occurred but alleged that Zachary Wang ’20, another former Dartmouth student, fired the gun. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Wilcox is required to pay no more than $2,053.64 to the College as restitution, undergo substance abuse counseling, perform 100 hours of community service and meet with a group of community members organized by Chabad Rabbi Moshe Leib Gray.

Wilcox’s attorney S. Amy Spencer said that Wilcox “looks forward to fulfilling the conditions of his ‘nol pros’ agreement and moving forward with his life.”

“[Wilcox] is pleased that the charge has been dropped and that this is now part of the public record,” she said. “Mortified by even the perception of the incident, he has agreed to pay for damages done while expressly maintaining his innocence.”

Hanover police chief Charlie Dennis said that because the investigation is still “ongoing” he could not comment on the case.

Gray said that, as a representative of the Jewish community, he was pleased that an agreement was reached.

“[The Jewish community] wanted this conclusion; we wanted a restorative justice to be had,” he said. “We had no interest in having him serve a sentence, we really wanted an outcome where he was made to truly understand what he did and the harm that he did, and I think that’s been served.”

According to Gray, plans for Wilcox to meet with members of the Jewish community have not been finalized yet. He said that the meeting, which Chabad is planning, would include himself, several other rabbis, other members of the Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor.

“Hopefully [the meeting will include] meaningful, positive, action-based conversations [from which Wilcox] will gain a deeper appreciation, a deeper relationship with the Jewish people, with the Jewish community,” Gray said.

Gray said that he spoke with the prosecutors before the indictment was lifted to give them his thoughts.

“The [district attorney] generously and quite impressively took my thoughts very seriously,” he said. “At the end of the day [the prosecution] could have decided to go any which way and they could have said, ‘thank you Rabbi Gray for your opinion, we’re going to go another direction.’”

Following the vandalism, College president Phil Hanlon condemned the incident as an act of anti-Semitism. Both Wilcox and Wang are former writers for The Dartmouth Review, an organization that has been criticized for anti-Semitism in past years.

Gray said that he does not know what the motivation behind shooting at the menorah was, but said that incidents like this have “really deep repercussions.”

“I can’t crawl into the brains of these two boys and really see what their real motives and what their real intentions were,” he said. “We are in a time where anti-Semitism is on the rise. Jewish people are being demonized, the land of Israel is being demonized, and [the menorah] is a symbol.” 

Gray said that he has met with Wilcox. Although he believes that Wilcox has “deep remorse,” he said that Wilcox still has to work on coming to terms with the consequences of his actions.

“Remorse is not enough,” he said. “[But] that’s an excellent start.”

Prosecutor and Grafton County attorney Marcie Hornick could not be reached for comment.

Correction appended (May 23, 2:20 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Wilcox is required to pay $2,053.64 to the College as restitution. Under the terms of the agreement with county prosecutors, Wilcox is required to pay up to $2,053.64. The article has been updated. 

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!