By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to a month in juvenile detention for starting an Aug. 6 fire that heavily damaged a family-owned floral shop in Everett.
A judge also ordered the boy to undergo inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. If he doesn’t complete treatment or breaks any rules, he faces 10 months in juvenile prison.
The boy pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to first-degree reckless burning and second-degree burglary in connection with the fire at Everett Floral on Evergreen Way.
The fast-moving blaze caused about $200,000 in damage to the building, fire officials said. The shop’s owners, Ernie and Cindy Frederickson also are losing out on sales each day the store is closed.
The Fredericksons have received permits from the city to rebuild, but aren’t sure if they can reopen by Valentine’s Day. They have owned the business for about 23 years.
Court documents don’t describe any motive for the fire. Authorities have said they don’t believe the floral shop was targeted for any specific reason.
Under state law, the boy faced up to a month at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center. Prosecutors and a probation officer argued that a standard range sentence would be a manifest injustice and asked the judge to consider a longer sentence.
He “needs some strong motivation to help him complete drug and alcohol treatment successfully,” probation officer Michael Little wrote.
The Herald is not naming the boy because of his age.
An assessment done in September determined that the boy is addicted to alcohol, methamphetamine and marijuana, court papers said. He is a habitual runaway with ties to the Juggalos, a street gang. During the past three years, he has spent 223 days in detention. The boy dropped out of the ninth-grade in September.
Judge Michael Downes last week sentenced the boy to 10 months in juvenile lockdown but agreed to suspend the sentence if the boy completes treatment and follows all the rules established by probation officers.
He is banned from having incendiary devices and spray paint. He also will have a curfew when he’s released from detention and treatment.
Prosecutors alleged that the boy broke into the floral shop, stole spray paint and vandalized a delivery van before setting fire to the shop. He was arrested at his grandmother’s house a few weeks after the fire.
The boy later was released pending the outcome of the case. He was ordered to attend school and treatment. He went to school and treatment for about a week before disappearing, court papers said. He was arrested in October while attempting to break into a woman’s home. Authorities said he told them he was high at the time.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.