FARMINGTON – The first of four individuals charged with entering Mt. Blue High School after hours and damaging school property pleaded guilty to lesser charges in Superior Court Thursday.
Tyler Morris, 18, then a student at the school, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, in exchange for having a felony charge of burglary dismissed. In addition to paying $4,335 in restitution at the time of his plea, he was also assessed a $500 fine for his actions.
Morris, along with three others, broke into the school early on June 1, a Sunday morning. Some food, clothing and pieces of a chainsaw-crafted cougar sculpture, which was donated to Mt. Blue by the Class of 2007, were found missing the next day. Assistant Principal Randy Cook’s office was also tagged with graffiti and the contents strewn about.
Other pieces of the sculpture were removed a day later, when the people reentered the school on Monday, June 2. Farmington Police investigated the incident with the assistance of MSAD 9 personnel.
In court, Morris’s attorney explained that his client had no criminal record whatsoever and that he felt extremely remorseful for causing damage from what started out as what was meant to be just a high school prank. Morris had gone to work after the school year and had worked the entire summer to repay the school. The restitution paid for the complete $3,300 cost to replace the cougar sculpture, which Morris maintains through his attorney was broken accidentally, as well as for the school’s clean up effort. Morris also will be required to write a letter of apology to Cook.
In addition to Morris’ plea, another suspect, Timothy Poulson, 19, also a student, pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of criminal trespass. Former student Graham Taber, 19, was also arrested, but has yet to appear in court. A fourth, 17-year-old student was also arrested. All four suspects were originally charged with burglary, a Class C felony.