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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sentencing Set For Teenage Bombers 16-Year-Old Omak Boys Entered Guilty Pleas To Reduced Charges

Two Omak boys are to be sentenced Feb. 22 for bombing three cars, breaking into Omak High School and setting a fire outside the Burger King where they worked.

Nicholas Johnson and Aaron Simpson, both 16, pleaded guilty this week to reduced charges ranging from attempting to possess incendiary devices to second-degree arson.

The high school juniors detonated five homemade pipe bombs last November. One went off under a driver’s education car at Omak High, another damaged two cars when it exploded outside a teacher’s house and a third blew up a mailbox.

The youths also detonated two bombs in a field and placed two others under a student’s car and in a garbage can inside the high school.

When they were caught, Simpson and Johnson also admitted breaking into the school in September and stealing a stereo system and setting the Burger King trash fire.

Both boys originally were charged with one count of first-degree arson, which carries a maximum penalty of detention until age 21, in addition to one count of second-degree arson. Under the plea bargain, the first-degree arson counts were reduced to second-degree arson.

In addition, a charge that Johnson possessed an incendiary device was reduced to attempted possession. Other charges to which he pleaded guilty were a second count of second-degree arson and second-degree burglary.

Simpson pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree arson, one count of possessing an incendiary device and seconddegree burglary.

Based on sentencing guidelines, Prosecutor Rick Weber said Simpson could be sentenced to a standard range of about 2 years to three years and two months in a state reformatory. Any sentence within that range could not be appealed.

Weber said the standard sentencing range for Johnson is about 10 months to a year and three months.

The sentencing ranges reflect the boys’ prior records. Simpson was charged with third-degree malicious mischief and fourth-degree assault in 1991, and Johnson was charged with reckless driving in October 1994, a month before the bombings.

Both boys remained in custody Thursday at the Okanogan County juvenile detention center.