Two 16-year-old boys pleaded guilty Wednesday to burning a cross on the front lawn of a Jewish family's home in Huntington Beach and were sentenced to the California Youth Authority, the state prison system for juveniles, for an undetermined length of time, a prosecutor said.
The Huntington Beach teenagers admitted to two felony counts each of arson and burning a religious symbol during a hearing at the Betty Lou Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Joe D'Agostino. The pair, whose names are not released because of their age, could be held in custody until they are 21, but their first parole hearing will be in 18 months, said D'Agostino, who prosecuted the case.
"I agree with the judge 100% that this was the proper and right thing to do in this case," D'Agostino said. "This way, they can be rehabilitated and go out and be productive members of society."
The May 19 incident sparked outrage in the placid Huntington Beach community, where residents sent flowers and left handmade cards in support of homeowners David and Barbara Shostak.
Then, in a bizarre twist of events, police investigators also linked the Shostaks' own son to the crime. The 15-year-old has not been charged, D'Agostino said.
Another teenager, 18-year-old Daniel Carr, is awaiting trial and may face hate crime charges for his role in the incident, attorneys said.
Carr and the two 16-year-old boys were arrested several days after David Shostak, who is Jewish, found the six-foot cross burning on the front lawn of their Saline Drive home. Shostak, 46, was sitting in his living room when he saw the flames and ran outside to grab a garden hose to put out the fire. No one was injured.