5 Teens Sentenced To Jail Time For School Fires in Abernathy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/18/04

5 Teens Sentenced To Jail Time For School Fires in Abernathy

Friday, five teenagers are serving out their sentences for arson.

The teens originally each faced up to 22 years in prison, but plea bargains lessened their time to eight years each. They were all in a Hale County court room Friday, along with their families, to hear their fate. The sentences are based on a plea bargains all five agreed to.

Juan Dominguez and the 16-year-old received two 8 year sentences for arson and criminal mischief. The 16-year-old has been certified as an adult, but will begin his sentence at the Texas Youth Commission until he's 18.

Eric Sepeda, James Hernandez, and Jose Hernandez were sentenced to 2 years for burglary of a building and 8 years for criminal mischief. All sentences will be served concurrently.

"We feel good that we got pleas and jail time on all the defendants and some restitution on the deal. We're glad it's all tied down now and hate that Abernathy suffered the loss that they did and hope that they'll be able to recover. I think the State's done all the we can with regard to these defendants and I'm just glad to see the case is closed," said Wally Hatch, Hale and Swisher County District Attorney.

The teens are responsible for starting fire in the Abernathy middle and high school in early October of last year. Four different fires were set in the schools, damaging more than a dozen rooms and forcing the staff to shift students to temporary buildings and classrooms. The remodel is in full swing, and the school is expected to reopen completely by Christmas of this year.

10/4/04
Arson Suspected in Abernathy School Fire
Authorities are working leads and interviewing suspects after they say two area schools were vandalized and set on fire.

In the end, these fires cost about $2.5 million dollars, but thankfully for the school district, insurance covered most of  the cost.

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