LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A 15-year-old boy who has been in secure detention for 68 days will spend a maximum of 22 more days there, followed by several months at a treatment center for children, for intentionally starting a fire in June that destroyed four Tippecanoe School Corp. buses.
The boy, who pled guilty last month to one count of arson, a Class B felony, and three counts of criminal mischief, a Class C felony, will also remain under the area superior court’s jurisdiction until he turns 21, The Journal & Courier reports.
While the boy did not testify or provide a statement on Wednesday during the final disposition hearing for the case, he admitted last month during a fact-finding hearing to pouring charcoal lighter fluid onto the front seat of a bus that was parked at one of the school corporation’s elementary schools overnight on June 3. Flames spread to three nearby buses, causing about $425,000 in damage.
He also testified that he was accompanied by a friend, a 14-year-old boy, whose idea it was to sneak outside, but his friend has not been charged and likely will not be charged because the 15-year-old has lied and wavered on what exactly took place during the event.
According to The Journal & Courier,Judge Loretta Rush, who is presiding over the case, said that the boy has tried to minimize his responsibility for the incident, saying, for example, that he claimed that his friend brought the items used to start the fire — despite acknowledging before that the charcoal starter fluid came from his mother's backyard.
Rush also said that if the boy fails to comply at the Cary Home for Children, where his treatment will include behavior modification, he will be sent to the state’s Department of Correction.