October 29, 2013



Jefferson

Three Jefferson teens are accused of a string of arsons this month that destroyed a school bus and garage and caused significant damage to an unoccupied building.

Parker William Seehusen, 15, Kevin Armando Montoya, 17, and Andrew Clayton Montoya, 15, all of Jefferson, were each charged with multiple felonies in juvenile court on Monday, Jefferson Police Chief David Morlan said in a press release.

Kevin and Andrew Montoya are brothers, Morlan said in an interview.

The boys are accused of setting two fires the night of Oct. 21. Firefighters responded to fire reports at the Greene County Fairgrounds - where a school bus was ablaze about 8 p.m. - and at 704 N. Elm St. - where a fire engulfed a garage about 10 p.m. and spread to a nearby three-story building.

The garage was completely destroyed, Morlan said in an interview. The building, which is valued at $31,000, is still standing but sustained extensive smoke damage and had all or most of its windows broken out during the fire.

The school bus - a spare bus of the Jefferson-Scranton Community School District - was gutted by its fire, but district officials sold it to a salvage yard for $1,000, Superintendent Tim Christensen said.

There were no injuries reported in either fire.

Greene County Attorney Nicola Martino said he has not yet decided if he will ask a judge to prosecute the boys as adults. If found delinquent in juvenile court, the teens would face a maximum punishment of incarceration at a juvenile detention center until they are 18.

Juvenile court proceedings in Iowa are not generally open to the public. The Daily Times Herald discloses the names of minors accused of crimes under certain circumstances. In this case, their identities are widely known due to other media reports that named them.

A state fire marshal investigated the fires last week, and arrest warrants were issued for the three teens on Monday, Morlan said.

Seehusen was charged with second-degree arson, third-degree burglary, and aiding and abetting in second-degree arson. Kevin Montoya was charged with two counts of second-degree arson and third-degree burglary. Andrew Montoya was charged with second-degree arson, third-degree burglary, and aiding and abetting in a second-degree arson.

In addition to these felony charges, all three teenagers also received an aggravated misdemeanor third-degree burglary charge.

The teens are also accused of other crimes earlier in the month. On Oct. 9, the base of a railroad signal was placed on railroad tracks at the Maple Street crossing and subsequently struck by a train. On Oct. 10, two of the boys were alleged found lighting leaves on fire on middle-school property, and on the same day, a trash can was set on fire at Chautauqua Park. On Oct. 21, a bicycle was stolen from the 100 block of South Chestnut Street. There was a theft from Dollar General on the same day.

Two of the teenagers were also accused of previously entering the building or garage at 704 N. Elm St. - the scene of the second fire on Oct. 21.

In relation to the earlier crimes, Seehusen was charged with two counts of fifth-degree theft, two counts of reckless use of fire, fifth-degree railroad vandalism and trespassing, all misdemeanors. Kevin Montoya was charged with reckless use of fire, fifth-degree railroad vandalism and trespassing, all misdemeanors, as well as third-degree burglary, a felony. Andrew Montoya was charged with fifth-degree theft, trespassing, fifth-degree railroad vandalism and reckless use of fire, all misdemeanors, as well as third-degree burglary, a felony.