Freight Dawgs Rule
- Dec 17, 2003
- Total Time
They are lucky they changed their minds...
Five former students will spend Thanksgiving, Christmas in jail
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) -- Five high school students won't be spending either Thanksgiving or Christmas with their families - instead, they'll be in jail.
The students from North High School were sentenced by Eau Claire County Judge Paul Lenz on Friday to 10 days each in jail, with the catch that they must serve the sentence during the holidays.
The ruling came after the five were arrested for shooting mortar fireworks at a teacher's home on May 7. The fireworks went through a window, set several items on fire on the kitchen and caused approximately $11,000 in damage.
"I hope it sends a message to the good kids and the not-so-good kids that retaliatory actions against teachers or students are unacceptable," Lenz said.
The five youths - 17-year-olds Trevor Caliebe, Joseph Capozzi and Joel Pardun, and 18-year-olds Dennis Anderegg and Benjamin Slaughter - told police they were playing cards and drinking beer when they decided to shoot fireworks at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, according to the criminal complaint.
They started talking about the teacher, Michael Perri, who had reported a friend to authorities for inappropriate behavior when they decided to shoot fireworks at his house, the complaint said.
The five were expelled from school for the 2005-06 year, but can reapply after the first semester.
"He was only doing his job," Margaret Perri told the defendants before Lenz imposed his sentence. "Your action wasn't a prank."
The defendants apologized.
"It's probably the stupidest thing any of us will probably ever do," Anderegg said.
The judge's sentenced followed an agreement with prosecutors that also includes two years of probation, 300 hours of community service and restitution. The five pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and one felony charge.
Lenz said he initially considered more jail time, but he divided it to minimize school absences over the holiday breaks. So, the defendants will spend Nov. 23-27 and Dec. 22-26 in jail.
He said he wanted to show the defendants what it would be like to be deprived of their families and ordered the students to maintain full-time school, work or a combination of the two.
Lenz said the teenagers were lucky their actions didn't injure or kill anyone or destroy the Perri's home.
"This act could have been much worse, and if it would have resulted in either one of the consequences, the prospects for each and every one of you for leading a productive life would be close to zip," Lenz said.