Junior Vandals Get Day In Court


Two of the three children suspected of stealing a forklift in south Payson and vandalizing a storage yard have taken their first steps through the juvenile court process.

Last week, the two boys attended their advisory hearing, during which the judge explained to them the charges against them.

The three boys all 11 years old allegedly broke into a storage yard on Aero Drive Feb. 8 and returned the next day to continue their destructive spree. The boys are accused of stealing a forklift, ramming it into vehicles, and vandalizing other equipment before being caught by witnesses. The witnesses held two of the vandals until police arrived. The boys were then transported to the detention center in Globe. The third child was picked up the next day, and released into the custody of his parents.

Dan McKeen of the Gila County Probation Department explained the juvenile probation process.

"When there's probable cause to believe that a juvenile has committed an offense, the county attorney usually files a petition," he said.

"In this case, the two had a detention hearing, then were probably released to their parents."

The next step will be a pre-adjudicatory hearing. "That's where the county attorney usually offers a plea agreement," he said, "and a decision is made at that time if they'll accept the plea agreement."

If the defendants choose not to accept the plea, then the matter is set for trial. If they accept the plea, then probation does a disposition report with recommendations to the judge for sentencing.

The three juveniles will attend their pre-adjudicatory hearing at 10:30 a.m. March 19.

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