First school vandal sentenced

WARREN – The first of two men charged with massive vandalism last spring at the construction site of the new Niles McKinley High School was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail and another six to eight months in an alternative sentencing program.

Michael Butler, 20, of Robbins Avenue, Weathersfield, also will be placed on five years probation and pay half the amount of restitution ordered by the court, according to the sentence from Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

In November, Butler pleaded guilty to four counts of vandalism, aggravated theft and criminal damaging. A charge of robbery was dismissed in exchange for both pleas.

Joseph Barrickman II, 20, of Woodside Drive, Leavittsburg, pleaded guilty to the same charges in January and is undergoing a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice. A plea agreement calls for a similar sentence for Barrickman.

”All the parties have signed off on the deal and they agree with the terms,” assistant county prosecutor Gabe Wildman said, adding that Barrickman and Butler have no criminal histories.

He said Coates Construction, Hammond Construction, Niles City Schools and two private homeowners near the school all suffered losses.

Police said more than $100,000 in damage was estimated after heavy equipment was used to tear a path of destruction on and off the school property last March.

Police said the pair used an excavator for the joyride at the school grounds, where numerous work sheds, portable toilets, a privately owned swimming pool, a deck, and fencing on Wade Avenue were destroyed. The rear of a vacant home on Woodland Avenue also was destroyed.

According to witnesses, the two men also were involved in an altercation with a resident who yelled at them to stop. The pair are alleged to have run onto property belonging to Jonathan Clouser, 158 Wade Ave., and fought with him as they attempted to escape. The altercation resulted in the robbery charge that was dismissed against both men.

Both men turned themselves into Niles police after the vandalism was discovered at the school property.