Eight University of Utah baseball players charged with painting red U’s on BYU’s Y Mountain last year may get out of jail time and a felony charge of criminal mischief if they agree to a plea bargain.
Jason Price, 20; Ryan Breska, 23; Jay Brossman, 19; Eric Chevalier, 22; Tyler Kmetko, 19; Tyson Olson, 21; Ryan Florence, 21 and Jacob Wladram, 20, painted the Y with red U’s on May 1, 2004. Police arrested the men 10 days later when Fred Meyers’ employees called police after developing the photos taken while the students did the painting.
The plea bargain discussed Wednesday would reduce the charge from a second degree felony charge of criminal mischief to a misdemeanor, meaning the eight men would avoid the potential one to 15 years in prison and only have to pay restitution. If both parties agree to the bargain at a hearing on August 10, the defendants will have one year to pay restitution and avoid any other criminal charges. If the conditions are met during the year, the charges will be reduced to the misdemeanor.
Loni DeLand and Rich Mauro, lawyers for the defendants, said the job now is trying to determine how much the defendants should have to pay in restitution.
“What we’re trying to do is get some more information about the paint costs and labor costs and things like that,” DeLand said.
DeLand and Mauro said they want to be sure the amount BYU asks for is accurate and honest.
BYU Grounds Director Roy Peterson said the cost of fixing the vandalism added up to $6,267. Peterson said simply painting over the U’s left shadows on the monument and a complete repainting of the Y was required.
Peterson said the assumption that BYU repaints the monument each year anyway is incorrect.
“We prefer not to do that,” he said. “We only do it to correct vandalism. If no one vandalized it for 10 years, we probably would only have to paint it every five to 10 years.”
Peterson emphasized that the $6,267 is only the cost of labor and paint. The total costs to the University are more, he said.