Boy, 12, gets 90 days in jail, probation for taking gun to Welty Middle School

Nancy Molnar
The Times-Reporter
  • Juvenile Judge Adam Wilgus gives boy 90-day jail sentence for taking gun to school.
  • Defendant will be on house arrest after spending 90 days in lockup.
  • Judge reserves time in juvenile prison which may be imposed if probation terms not met.

NEW PHILADELPHIA − The 12-year-old who took a gun and ammunition to Welty Middle School on Feb. 2 will be on probation for a year after spending 90 days in a juvenile jail.

Tuscarawas County Juvenile Judge Adam W. Wilgus sentenced the boy on Tuesday. He also gave him a term in the Ohio Department of Youth Services that could last from six months until the defendant reaches age 21. The judge suspended the commitment on the condition that the boy complies with terms of his probation. He will be on electronically monitored house arrest after his release from juvenile jail.

Initial court appearance: Boy, 12, denies taking gun to Welty Middle School, judge continues detention

The incident: Student, 12, arrested after gun found in backpack at New Philadelphia middle school

The judge told the defendant that he was concerned that he did not appreciate the severity of his actions: taking a gun and two ammunition clips to school.

"You could have lost your life or the life of someone else, and there's no going back from that," Wilgus said.

The judge expressed gratitude that no one was hurt.

"I had no intention of hurting anyone, sir," the boy said. "It was just stupid."

He appeared in court by video link from the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center, where he has been since being arrested. The judge gave him credit against his jail sentence for 68 days already spent in the detention center.

Wilgus ordered the forfeiture of the .22-caliber handgun. He told the defendant to have no contact with another boy involved in the incident.

Why did the boy bring a gun to Welty Middle School?

The judge said the boy traded one gun to another juvenile for a pair of shoes.

The defendant told the judge he took the gun to school "just to be a showoff" to the other boy.

Wilgus placed the youth in the protective custody of Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services.

He told the boy's mother that he expects her to have in place counseling and a doctor for her son when he is released from the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center on May 2. He said he expects her to follow all the requirements put in place by Job & Family Services, or he will be placed in the agency's custody rather than her own.

Wilgus chided the mother on Tuesday for not having in place a plan for how his son will spend his days following his release from incarceration, since he has been expelled from school for a year. The mother told the judge she thought her son would be able to enroll in online classes, and she did not make arrangements because she did not know when he would be released. She said she believed her father would be at home a lot.

Attorney Donovan Hill, appointed as a guardian ad litem to represent the boy's interests in court, said he did not believe the defendant had been honest about the incident with him or his mother. He said counseling was essential, and said the defendant might find someone in counseling to trust enough to tell the truth.

After the incident at the school, the boy's grandfather told the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office that two guns had been stolen from his home.

The defendant previously admitted to carrying a concealed weapon, inducing panic and illegal conveyance or possession of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance in a school safety zone.

Wilgus ordered the boy's mother to pay court costs.

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