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2 boys sentenced in highway shootings

Tue., April 27, 2010, 2:01 p.m.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Two 14-year-old boys were sentenced Monday to 30 days in juvenile detention and three years’ probation for shooting at several vehicles on a state highway near Deary, Idaho.

The boys fired at vehicles along Highway 8 for hours and in one case, a bullet from a .22-caliber rifle passed through the rear side window and through the driver’s seat headrest, narrowly missing the driver and her passenger, prosecutors said.

“A mere inches and one or the other of them (would) have been seriously injured or dead,” said Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson Jr., who wanted the boys committed to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections in Boise.

The boys would have received therapy as part of the proposed sentence. However, Magistrate Stephen L. Calhoun determined the boys were sincere in their remorse for their actions and said treatment in a secured environment “would be a waste of resources.”

The boys will instead serve their monthlong sentence at the Nez Perce Juvenile Detention Center in Lewiston, which is about 43 miles southwest of Deary.

The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles involved in court cases.

At a hearing last month, both boys admitted to two counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm at a passenger vehicle and one count of unlawful discharge of a firearm at a vehicle after they shot nine trucks near Helmer on Jan. 22.

“You’re both just fortunate that your reckless and irresponsible actions didn’t take away somebody’s life and your future,” Calhoun told the boys, who sobbed during the hearing.

The gunfire prompted authorities to temporarily close a portion of the rural road between the small towns of Deary and Bovill. No one was hurt, though at least 20 motorists reported their vehicles being hit over a three-hour period.

The boys will have to pay $1,500 in restitution for damage to the vehicles.

One of them will have to pay an additional $1,783 to the federal Department of Homeland Security after authorities who searched his bedroom on a warrant earlier this year found what they thought to be an explosive device. A bomb squad was called in to investigate what turned out to be plastic pipe filled with fireworks.

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