TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
A cat was killed during this house fire. Two boys have pleaded guilty to setting the fire.
Two 15-year-old boys have pleaded guilty to arson and have been granted release from custody as they await sentencing for setting a fire that destroyed the home of a Brandon family.
The youths, who can’t be named, reportedly have ties to the Young Bucks, the youth wing of the Indian Posse street gang.
As one of the teens pleaded guilty in Brandon court on Thursday, Crown attorney Grant Hughes outlined the following events that led up to the fire.
Late in the evening of June 12, the two boys and another male had been drinking and were wandering the city in search of garages and vehicles to break into.
One of them broke into a shed and stole a jerry can filled with gas, which the group hid before continuing with other break-ins.
Garden shears and a knife were taken from another shed, a mountain bike was stolen from a garage and a satellite radio was taken from a vehicle.
At some point, the third male had left the group, leaving only the two 15-year-old boys who retrieved the gas can shortly after 2 a.m.
They then went to a home on the 200-block of 28th Street, where one of them poured gas over a car that was parked in a carport. The other youth then set the gas alight with a lighter and the pair ran.
The flames spread from the car to the carport roof. The carport was attached to the house, and the fire spread to the home and three more vehicles parked nearby.
Sherri Ferguson, her husband Bryan and their two daughters Cassie, 20, and Renee, 9, escaped the home unharmed.
However, one of the family’s cats perished and their home was destroyed.
Hughes told court that the damage to the home and its contents totalled $800,000 and the total damage done to the four vehicles was $114,000.
Hughes didn’t specify how police identified the two youths responsible. Although, he did note that one of them had dropped his L.A. Kings hat as he fled from two dogs that gave chase during a failed attempt to break into a garage.
One youth — the one who pleaded guilty on Thursday and admitted to pouring the gas — was released after an initial interview by police and later charged with arson.
He was taken back into custody on June 29 after being found out past his bail curfew and in violation of a probation order for being with his co-accused.
He’d also breached a previous conditional sentence by failing to report to his probation officer June 25-27.
On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to the breaches. He also pleaded guilty to the theft of the radio, the break-ins and to arson with disregard for human life for the incidents on the night of June 12-13.
A pre-sentence report was ordered and the youth was then granted release pending sentencing in mid September.
He’s to live under house arrest at a specialized foster home while under one-on-one supervision. He also can’t have any matches, lighters or other incendiary devices.
On Tuesday the co-accused, who’d set the gas alight, pleaded guilty to the same charges for the arson and other crimes on June 12-13. He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated assault.
This second youth has also been granted release as he awaits sentencing in mid-September.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 27, 2012