HOUSTON (AP) – A man accused of vandalizing a 1929 Pablo Picasso painting in an act caught on cellphone video surrendered Tuesday to federal marshals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Uriel Landeros, 22, of Houston, turned himself over to marshals at the international bridge near McAllen, Texas.
“I don’t regret anything that I’ve done,” Landeros told KPRC-TV of Houston in an interview.
Landeros was charged in June with felony graffiti and criminal mischief for spray painting the artwork titled “Woman in a Red Armchair” at the Menil Collection in Houston.
The painting was damaged June 13 in an act caught in a 24-second video taken by a bystander and posted on YouTube. The vandal left behind an image of a bullfighter, a bull and the word “conquista,” the Spanish word for conquest.
Once the man walks away, the person taking the video walks up to the painting, recording the damage. This, plus the fact that the witness happened to film the vandal at the moment he damaged the painting, has some speculating whether the two were working together.
Landeros fled to Mexico afterward and might have been there since June, his attorney, Emily Detoto said Tuesday.
“He surrendered at the urging of his family and myself, to come in and get started on the process,” she told the Houston Chronicle.
In his television interview, which KPRC said was conducted in November, Landeros said he aligned himself with the Occupy movement and that the vandalism was an act of social and political defiance.
“It’s just a piece of cloth,” he said. “What matters most is the people who are suffering.”
He added, “If I wanted to destroy that piece, I could have done it. The spray paint that I used was easily taken away.”
The painting is still being restored, KTRK-TV of Houston reported.