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Students charged in tree-cutting 'prank'

Students charged in tree-cutting 'prank'

MARION, Ohio (WTVN) -- Six students involved in cutting down more than 20 trees at River Valley High School have been charged in connection with what they called a senior prank.

Three of the students: David Mark Gifford, 18, Brian Simmons, 18, Gage Stuckman, 18, have been charged with felony vandalism. Joseph Allen Conley, 18, Nicholas Warwick, 18, Mitchell Lee Hoffman, 19 are charged with complicity.

"These are serious matters. You can't go saw down probably thousands of dollars worth of trees," said Marion County Prosecutor Brent Yager.

The students could face a possible maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, though Yager admits that's highly unlikely.

"I don't know that they necessarily should be branded for life for it, because they're just 18, but I think getting them to understand how serious these things can be is important," he said.

Yager says he's trying to do what's best for the community and he feels that filing charges is what's best.

"No matter what we do, some people will think it's not enough and some people will think it's too much," he said.

No word yet on what, if any, punishment the school plans to hand out.

(Photo courtesy ABC6)

 

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