Two of three men charged with vandalizing Nikiski Middle-High School in September 2011 have entered guilty pleas to third-degree criminal mischief. They could have additional counts dropped during sentencing.
Karl Buchholz, 19, and Anthony Ming, 21, both of Nikiski, entered their pleas Tuesday at the Kenai Courthouse. An attorney representing Roy Bellamy, 19, the third individual charged with vandalizing the school, rescheduled the change of plea hearing.
Bellamy’s privately hired attorney, William Walton of Winegarden & Walton in Kenai, was out of town. The other two defendants received representation through the Public Defender Agency.
Each was originally charged with five counts of third-degree criminal mischief, a class C felony.
The defendants’ attorneys will request a dismissal of the other counts during sentencing, which is set for April 26 at the Kenai Courthouse for all three men.
Judge Anna Moran accepted the two guilty pleas and laid out the terms of an agreement between parties, which includes 30 days in jail or 240 hours of community work service and two years of probation.
The state has not set an amount of restitution. The three men will share the responsibility of payment through joint liability — each defendant is liable up to the full amount of the fee.
“If the other two don’t pay you’re still going to have to pay and get your share from them later on,” Moran said to Buchholz and Ming.
On Sept. 14, Alaska State Troopers responded to a call and found the school vandalized. Numerous areas of the main building, three buses and a privately-owned vehicle were spray painted.
Troopers estimated the total repair and cleanup cost at more than $6,000.
Using surveillance video from the school, Troopers identified three individuals. Following an investigation, Ming and Buchholz admitted to the spray-painting incident. Bellamy allegedly admitted the same.
The men were ordered to write letters of apology to the school’s employees and students, which they will read during their sentencing.
No contact with Kenai Peninsula School District properties and Permanent Fund Dividends assigned to restitution also were conditions of probation.
Scott Bloom, assistant borough attorney, telephonically requested to add the Nikiski Community Recreation Center to the list of no-contact properties.
Bloom was instructed to voice concern during sentencing.
The offenders’ two years of probation is coupled with a suspended imposition of sentence. The charges are dismissed if the defendants satisfactorily meet their conditions of probation, Moran said.
“You won’t be carrying a felony charge around with you for the rest of your life,” she said. “However, if you violate your terms of probation we’ll bring you back in and give you a sentence of record, which includes jail time of up to five years.”
“Yes, your honor,” both defendants responded at different points of the hearing.
Alaska does not offer expungement, the process by which the record of criminal charges or conviction is destroyed or sealed through the state or federal repository. Records of the defendants’ charges will remain available regardless of a dismissal.
Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.