A 17-year-old male was sentenced to one year adjudicated probation for his involvement in a criminal mischief crime in which he and others drove a truck onto the Gilmer Bruce Junior High School Football Field and proceeded to cause damage by turning doughnuts on the field, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said.
At the time he committed the crime, he was 16 years old.
“There are others involved in this crime, and they have cases pending before Judge Parish,” Byrd said.
Margaret Durrum was the probation officer assigned to this case.
“This male was previously supervised by the Probation Department in 2009 for a burglary,” Byrd said.
He successfully completed that probation and was discharged with no violations.
He was ordered to pay $2,400 in restitution to Gilmer ISD as part of his probation.
The youth who damaged the football field was represented by attorney Buddy Loyd, but Cone filled in for him at the sentencing, Byrd said.
Two juvenile males, both 15, admitted that they set fire to the A.E.P. Alternative School in Gilmer on Sept. 4.
Both were currently on probation for misdemeanor offenses.
One was on probation from Dallas County for Assault Family Violence and was being supervised by the Upshur County Juvenile Probation Department.
The other was placed on probation July 29 for the offense of possession of marijuana in a Drug-Free Zone, Gilmer High School, and a theft offense.
Both were placed in the AEP school, where they committed the arson, Byrd said. If committed by an adult, arson would have been a second-degree felony.
The boys had been taken into custody on arrest warrant and were being held in the Gregg County Juvenile Detention Center. They were tansported from the District Court for immediate placement in a Texas Youth Commission facility.
Thomas Vick, with the Juvenile Probation Department, was assigned the cases.
Investigator Roxanne Warren with the Gilmer Police Department investigated the crime.
Byrd told The Mirror on Monday the fire caused more than $8,000 in damage.
He said the juveniles initially tried to break into the school with a pry bar, but fled the scene when an alarm sounded. They then burglarized an 18-wheeler truck parked at the nearby Gilmer Plaza Shopping Center, taking some alcohol, and poured it on the school door’s facing, he said.
The pair set fire to the outside of the door, and passersby saw flames shooting through the roof, Byrd said. The adult charged in the case acted as a lookout, said Byrd.
Fingerprints recovered from the pry bar led to the youths’ arrests, Byrd said. He said their probation was not revoked, but that they were committed to reform school after pleading “true” to the arson charge.
Longview attorney Scott Novy represented one of the juveniles, while Gilmer attorney Tim Cone represented the other, the prosecutor said.
There is still a pending case against the adult who was involved in the arson crime.
Byrd said that TYC may keep both juveniles until their 19th birthdays.
“When and if they are released, prior to their 19th birthdays, depends upon many factors, including their success in rehabilitation treatment and their advancement in school they will be required to attend,” Byrd said.
The minimum term of confinement will be for nine months to one year.
“The Juvenile Laws are written to rehabilitate youths prior to them advancing into the adult system at 17,” Byrd said. “It is important for local youth and their families to know and understand that while rehabilitation and treatment is the goal of the Juvenile System, that may very well be achieved in a confined prison environment, as these cases demonstrate.”