Boy, 17, changes plea to guilty in Crestline Elementary arson case

Boy, 17, changes plea to guilty in Crestline Elementary arson case
This photo from February, 2013 shows firefighters at the scene of the fire that destroyed Crestline Elementary School.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A 17-year-old boy on Thursday pleaded guilty to a second degree arson charge for the fire that destroyed Crestline Elementary School last year.

The boy changed his plea during Thursday’s hearing. According to the tentative agreement, the boy will have to pay $2 million in restitution. His sentence could also include up to 12 months probation and 30 days in juvenile detention.

The boy’s attorney, John Green, said there are “new and unique circumstances” for the judge to review that should be considered when the boy is sentenced on July 12.

"I think the important thing for the community to understand is that my client did not have the intent to burn down the Crestline school," said Green. "While there was the intent to start a fire, the effect of that fire was absolutely unforeseen and nobody thinks that it was an intentional act for the Crestline school to burn down."

KATU News isn't naming the boy because he's a juvenile. The teen was arrested in April.

Court documents show the teen told police he acted alone in setting the fire in February 2013. He said he lit a coat on fire that was lying on a bench next to the school building. The flames spread and led to a massive fire that caused $8 million in damage.

KATU's Valerie Hurst contributed to this story.