Published September 8, 2006, 10:30 AM CDT
Two former members of York Community High School's cross-country team received one-year sentences today for burning down a $1 million home under construction in a prank.
Justin Jones and Brian Marchese, both 18 and from Elmhurst, pleaded guilty in July to setting fire to the home as well as to a school bus several days later. They could have been sentenced to 7 years.
"This will disrupt their lives but not more so than what they did to their victims," said DuPage County Judge George Bakalis in sentencing each of the teens to nine months of work release in the county jail plus a straight 90-day sentence.
"Before this, they were model teenagers and both came from good families. But neither can explain their actions. Maybe just bored teenagers," Bakalis said.
Under terms of the sentence, the teens can be released from jail only for school or work. Bakalis also placed them on 36 months probation and ordered them to perform 250 hours of public service and to register with the state as convicted arsonists.
Bakalis also ordered the teens' families to pay restitution of $1.3 million. The families have pledged to pay $100,000 each, and the remainder will likely be regarded as an unsatisfied judgement.
Both defendants had been members of the school's highly ranked cross-country team as juniors in 2004, but were dropped from the team and expelled after the July 2005 fires. The team later won the state championship.