19-year-old pleads guilty to church vandalism

Calling it "a prank that went too far," a 19-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to six counts of church vandalism.

Jonathon Walker of Gardnerville told District Judge Michael Gibbons that he committed the acts of graffiti and other vandalism at six Carson Valley churches June 6.

"I did it personally and with the help of other people," Walker said. "We did it just as a prank, your honor, that went too far."

Under a plea agreement that Gibbons is not bound to honor, Walker could be sentenced to up to six months in Douglas County Jail with credit for time served and placed on three years probation.

He also agreed to pay restitution believed to be about $6,000, but the final figure has not been determined.

Gibbons set sentencing for Aug. 21.

"What did you think as the adult?" Gibbons asked. "Should you have told the juveniles " and yourself " before you went too far, 'This is dumb?'"

"I should have, your honor," Walker said.

In juvenile court, additional charges may be filed against two of the three 17-year-olds who admitted participating with Walker in the attack on the churches.

All three were to be sentenced by Gibbons on Monday, but juvenile probation officials said Ronald Bronk, 17, and Kylie Antti, 17, were in custody after they tried to run away.

According to juvenile probation officer Tamara Morris, Antti allegedly took money and her parents' car on Thursday and picked up Bronk who reportedly cut off his house arrest monitoring bracelet.

Both suspects are in juvenile detention and Gibbons continued their sentencings until it's determined if additional charges will be filed.

Morris said the two juveniles were found in the back of a camper during a traffic stop at the Gardnerville Ranchos sand pits.

She said the state would be changing its recommendation from probation to custody for the pair on the vandalism charges.

She said beds would be available in late September at China Spring Youth Camp and Aurora Pines for girls.

Ryan Schuricht, 17, the third juvenile, was placed on indefinite probation Monday and ordered to complete 96 hours of community service.

He was judged to be less culpable than the others, participating in two acts of vandalism.

"The focus of the juvenile system is to hold the offender accountable and to rehabilitate," Gibbons said. "I don't see the need for further incarceration."

He ordered Schuricht to participate in the juvenile probation outdoor intervention program and write apologies to the victims within 10 days.

He may not associate with any juvenile or adult on probation or parole.

"The court took into consideration that you accepted responsibility at the beginning. You have been sincere and remorseful and have done a very good job. I think probation will work well for you," Gibbons said.

Probation officer John Enos said when the other two juveniles were reported missing, he checked on Schuricht at 5:30 a.m. and found him asleep at home.

"Ryan said, 'That's why I'm not hanging out with those people. I learned my lesson,'" Enos said.

Schuricht's mother said he was catching up on his high school credits and working on projects around the house.

"I've been very pleased and very relieved by his behavior," she said.

Gibbons said Schuricht would be responsible for at least $900 restitution for one of the churches and ordered him to pay $100 the first month and $200 a month beginning Sept. 30.

The four were accused of defacing the six churches with obscenities and satanic references to "666," in connection with the date of the damage, June 6, 2006.

Damage was discovered at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Gall Catholic Church and Carson Valley United Methodist Church in Gardnerville, Day Springs Christian Assembly on Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos and Hilltop Community Church and Shepherd of the Sierra Church in northern Douglas County.

Graffiti also was discovered at Douglas High School and town homes on Ironwood Drive.


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