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Boys get probation for roles in fires at Funkstown park

January 10, 2002

Boys get probation for roles in fires at Funkstown park



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


Three boys, all 13, who admitted setting fires in a trash bin at Funkstown Memorial Park last August, were each placed on six months probation Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

"You were in it together and you will get the same disposition ... it's only fair," Judge Don Beachley said.

Each boy will have to perform 20 hours of community service at the park and repay $470.98 for his share of the $1,412.94 in damages.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Michelle Flores said a witness followed the three boys to a home after they were seen running from the fire in the trash bin that was discovered on Aug. 22 at 2:30 p.m.

When Maryland State Police arrived, they found evidence that fires also had been set in the restroom and inside a sliding board tube, Flores said.

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While the charges concerning the additional fires were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas to the trash bin fire, restitution and responsibility were assessed for all.

"These are all good boys," Flores told the judge. "And that is why we brought this to court. We want them to know the seriousness of what they've done."

None of the boys had any previous contact with authorities. That was borne out by reports from the boys' schools that indicated all were doing well in behavior, grades and attendance.

The parents told Beachley their sons have all been disciplined at home since the incidents. And all three have attended and completed the fire safety program at Children's Village of Washington County.

"I'm sorry I put my parents through this," one boy told the judge.

Another described the escapade as a stupid mistake.

One of the boys told Beachley he has already saved up to pay his share of the restitution.

"Our son's assets far outweigh his liabilities," said one boy's father. "I'm confident he will never want to be here again."

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