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Saturday, April 17, 2004 - Page updated at 12:45 A.M.
Two teens plead guilty to Arlington cross burning
By Christopher Schwarzen
The teens were sentenced to 30 days in detention, with credit for the time they have already served. The cousins have been held in the Denny Youth Center since they turned themselves in to Arlington police March 27.
They were also each sentenced to 72 hours of community service and must each donate $100 to the county victim's fund.
The 16-year-olds, who were charged as minors, told police they placed a large cross on the lawn of Pastor Jason Martin's home and lit it on fire because of a dispute with Martin's 17-year-old son, court papers read. They told police they did not consider the act racist, but just a prank, court papers read.
The Seattle Times usually doesn't name defendants charged as juveniles.
Both teens made brief, but tearful apologies to the Martin family during their court appearance.
Martin, who sat in the courtroom with his wife and one of his sons, also made a brief statement, expressing his forgiveness for their actions.
"I only hope you guys learned something from this," Martin told the two teens. "And I hope I'll be able to help you guys further in your walk of life."
But Martin also asked Judge Gerald Knight to impose as strict a sentence against the boys as possible.
Knight, who acknowledged he wanted to impose a longer sentence than the law allowed, gave both teens a stern warning.
"You better hope that nobody commits further crimes of hate against the Martin family," Knight said. "You very well could be held responsible for their actions."
Since the cross-burning, many Arlington residents have come together to promote racial harmony. Martin, who is pastor of Jesus is Lord Life Tabernacle in Marysville, has met with several officials concerning the cross-burning, including Gov. Gary Locke.
Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or email@example.com
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