COLUMBIA — The first of three court hearings for suspects in connection to the vandalism at Rock Bridge High School in November was held Tuesday.
Elias E. Black pleaded guilty to property damage in the second degree at the 13th Circuit Court. His sentence was suspended in favor of two years probation, according to court documents.
Black was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service and pay his share of $3,538.50 in restitution to Columbia Public Schools, the documents stated. The restitution is to be paid jointly with Joshua Kostal and Cameron Phillips, the other two who were charged in the vandalism, according to the documents.
Black, though, could be held responsible for paying the entire sum if Kostal and Phillips fail to pay their shares.
Hearings for Kostal and Phillips will be held April 12.
Black was originally charged with property damage in the first degree, which is a class D felony. However, the charges were reduced to property damage in the second degree, which is a class B misdemeanor, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rose Olson said.
Olson, who represented the state in the case, said the suspended imposition of Black's sentence gives him the opportunity to avoid conviction.
“He’s a young man, we’re trying our best to insure he can stay on the right path, that he has the incentive to stay on the right path,” Olson said.