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Chris Cox

President Donald Trump waves to the audience as Chris Cox (right), executive director of the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum, looks on after Trump spoke May 4 at the annual meeting in Dallas. Cox's home has been repeatedly vandalized, and UNL research assistant professor Patricia Wonch Hill received a fine and probation for the crime.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher was fined $500 by a Virginia judge for vandalizing a National Rifle Association lobbyist's home earlier this year.

But Patricia Wonch Hill, a research assistant professor of sociology, will get the chance to make her case before a circuit court jury next month under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Hill was arrested by Alexandria police Jan. 11 for allegedly throwing fake blood on a home owned by the NRA's Chris Cox, according to court records.

A private security guard testified he witnessed Hill twice walk past the Cox home, and later identified her spraying the stairs with "red, gel-like substance," the Washington Post reported.

Judge Donald Haddock Jr. found Hill guilty following a bench trial Monday morning and imposed the fine, as well as an order that Hill stay 500 feet away from Cox's home.

Virginia court procedure allows defendants found guilty by a judge to appeal the decision to a circuit court, where the matter is taken up as a new case.

Hill plans to appeal the decision, her attorney, Jon Bourdon, said Monday, and will go before the jury June 6. A separate civil case related to the restraining order is scheduled for August.

NU Board of Regents' bylaws limit the university from leveling additional sanctions against employees convicted of minor crimes where the university has no interest.

"Staff members who violate laws prescribed by civil authorities may incur penalties attached to such laws," Bylaw 4.2 states. "The university should not impose sanctions to duplicate the function of these laws."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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