Two teens see day in court for Odell vandalism spree

July 23, 2011

Two of the four boys arrested for the June 10 vandalism, theft and arson around Odell admitted to the "acts of delinquency" charges against them before Judge John V. Kelly at the Hood River Circuit Court July 18 and received their sentences.

The original four juvenile males were arrested after allegedly spending the early morning of June 11 breaking into vehicles, smashing windows, stealing from cars and setting a vehicle on fire.

The juvenile court proceeding began with Kelly addressing each of the three youths in attendance, asking them to identify themselves and to acknowledge the charges against them. Because the suspects are juveniles, their names are being withheld.

One of the appearing 16- year-olds requested additional time to prepare his case and so did not participate further in the day's hearing. The fourth 16-year-old, not in attendance, was scheduled to appear separately on July 27.

Three of the four defendants had already been expelled from school at the time of the incident. The fourth was expelled following the event, specific to the destruction of school property and school bus equipment.

According to Hood River County Juvenile Probation Officer and Counselor Amy Hicks, the three expelled boys were hoping to return to school at HRVHS in the fall to participate on the football team.

Before their arrest on the morning of June 11, the four allegedly drove around the Odell area in a pickup truck belonging to one teen's father, with baseball bats, tire irons, bricks and a gas can intending to destroy property.

"This makes no sense to me," said Kelly. "Seeing something and wanting to have it; that makes sense. But this - no."

When Kelly asked the two court defendants why they did what they did, the 16-year-old answered, "I guess we were stressed out over the death of our friend Forest (Andrews)." He restated this reason again later in the hearing.

Judge Kelly, looking doubtful of the first youth's repeated answer, asked the second boy the same question.

The 15-year-old replied, "I don't know. We were just doing it."

"That sounds more like the truth," said Kelly.

Kelly went on to ask the boys what they had been doing just prior to getting into the truck. The 15-year-old answered, "We were playing video games - Halo; Duty."

"So, you all got together late at night, were playing Halo and Call of Duty … and came up with this," summarized Kelly.

The teens' trail of mayhem and vandalism began near midnight June 10, with a break-in at the Hood River Valley School District bus barn, where the teens smashed into three buses and cut wires. Three fire extinguishers were then stolen from inside the vehicles.

Following a random path around the Odell area, the teens then focused on damaging private vehicles. The group smashed windows on two Chevy Blazers on AGA Road. Later, in the parking area near Diamond Fruit, they destroyed all the windows of an Acura.

The final vehicle, a Ford Escort, was vandalized and torched after the youths poured gasoline on the seats and set it afire near a residence along Highway 35.

The two youth testifying before Kelly outlined which of them attacked specific vehicles and noted the implements used.

The two defendants then admitted to the charges and were sentenced by Kelly to eight days in detention at the NORCOR juvenile facility, a reduction from the proposed 30 days.

Each teen - plus any additional who admits to the charges or is ultimately found guilty - is responsible for restitution to the victims whose cars were damaged or destroyed, equating to more than $10,500.

The sentenced teens were placed on probation and restricted from contact with one another or contact with victims.

Additional terms of their sentences were imposed but not read in open court. Both teens indicated that they would begin employment soon to pay their restitution fines.

The remaining teens' court dates are set for July 27 at 4:30 p.m. and Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. when they will appear before Judge Paul Crowley.

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