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Juveniles Admit Roles In Civic Arson Case

John Stapleton

Two of the four Eugene boys charged with setting the fire that destroyed Civic Stadium made admissions to a judge today (Tuesday) in Lane County Juvenile Court. These two youth are also charged with arson for a dumpster fire outside a convenience store. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert was in the courtroom and has this report.

Flanked by their attorneys and parents, each boy told the judge they understand their rights and admitted to counts of recklessly endangering another person and two counts of second-degree arson.

The judge accepted recommended case plans for the youth. They were ordered to attend fire safety courses and each must serve up to five years of probation under the supervision of the Department of Youth Services. John Aarons is with the Juvenile Justice Center. He says probation typically involves supervision and accountability of time and whereabouts.

Aarons: "But really as we've taken a look at the most effective pieces of probation it includes education-- so what are the kinds of risky people, places and things. What strategies do you have to address those and to really change the attitudes, values and beliefs that support any criminal behavior?"

Any financial restitution in these cases has yet to be decided.

Gary Katz is owner of a Dairy-Mart store where the trash bin fire occurred. He addressed the court saying "I don't feel victimized but I really care what's going on here today. I am concerned about these boys."

The judge looked each boy in the eye as she reminded them of the impact of their actions. She said, "Not only was an historic landmark destroyed, but more importantly, these were dangerous fires that created grave risk to homes and people."

The other two boys charged with the Civic arson fire were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, however there was a last minute scheduling change. In an email sent to KLCC late Tuesday, the Lane County District Attorney's office says one more youth has signed an admission and was ordered to receive fire safety courses and up to five years probation. The fourth boy's hearing has been rescheduled for a later date. Three of the boys in these cases are twelve and one is ten but information on which youth signed admissions thus far is sealed by the court. 

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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