YHS vandals plead guilty

The Youngsville High School graduates who caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages at the school in June entered guilty pleas Thursday.

As part of the plea agreement, Derek Alan Gifford, Tylor Ray Keyes, and Duston A. Miller, agreed to pay full restitution – an amount unknown in its full extent, but currently estimated at $700,000.

The three men appeared separately before Judge Gregory Hammond during arraignment and plea court proceedings at the Warren County Courthouse on Thursday morning.

The plea deal worked out between the district attorney’s office and the defendants had them enter guilty pleas to burglary and criminal mischief, both felonies, while nine other charges facing each defendant were not prosecuted.

The burglary charge is a second-degree felony and carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine. “That could include a period of incarceration in state prison,” Hammond said.

The criminal mischief charge – a third-degree felony – would carry a maximum of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. However, according to the agreement, the two charges will merge for purposes of sentencing.

Hammond explained that there would be no additional sentencing for the criminal mischief. “There won’t be any separate period of incarceration or any fines separate from the burglary charge,” he said.

Hammond also explained that the three defendants were responsible for full restitution according to the agreement and that the final amount had not been determined. “You understand the estimate of those damages is going to be in the ball park of $700,000?” he asked Gifford.

Gifford, who was in court without an attorney, said, “Yes.”

Hammond asked him about that situation and advised him of his right to an attorney and some of the possible benefits of having one present. Gifford elected to move forward without representation.

Gifford requested that, if he is sentenced to jail time in a county facility, he be allowed to serve that time in Westmoreland County, where he makes his home. Hammond agreed, on the condition that both probation departments agree.

Michelle Alaskey represented Miller and Todd Woodin represented Keyes.

A date for sentencing has not been scheduled.