High school bomber ordered to pay teacher salaries, damage cost

Examiner file photoAlexander Youshock

In a decision that could influence future judges, Hillsdale High School bomber Alexander Youshock was ordered to foot the bill for the salaries of all teachers and staffers when the school had to shut down for two days — even though they still got paid.

Youshock was ordered Tuesday to repay the school district $122,161 for damages and lost productivity, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.

About $23,000 of that will go toward repairs that were made to walls, floors and windows from the exploded bombs, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said Thursday.

The remaining $97,728 will pay employee salaries lost during the two days the school was closed after the incident. Defense attorney Jon McDougall disputed that amount, arguing that the salaried employees still got paid.
Prosecutors contended that productivity was lost due to the closure.

“People had to be paid for work that could not be produced,” Guidotti said.

Judge Stephen Hall issued a written ruling agreeing with prosecutors. The ruling was somewhat unique, Guidotti said, since there were no previous California rulings that directly related to Youshock’s case.

But then Guidotti found a case involving vandalism at a Los Angeles school. In that case, prosecutors had sought restitution for the hours that maintenance staff spent repairing the vandalism.

The defense in that case argued that the maintenance staffers were on salary and would have been working anyway. However, the judge agreed with prosecutors that the employees could have been working on other projects if not for the vandalism.

“California law is very clear that the benefit of the doubt goes to the victim,” Guidotti said. “The victims need to be made whole for damages done to them.”

McDougall could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Youshock, 19, was convicted in March of six felonies in connection with the terrifying school attack Aug. 24, 2009.

The crazed teen showed up at Hillsdale High with a chain saw, a 2-foot sword and 10 pipe bombs strapped to a tactical vest. He intended to kill as many students and teachers as possible, particularly a chemistry teacher who had flunked him, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.

Youshock managed to detonate two of the bombs before he was tackled by a teacher. No one was injured.

The teen was committed to a state mental hospital on a diagnosis of probable schizophrenia. If released, he will serve at least 24 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Payback

Where the restitution money will go:

$14,452 Material costs for repairs to school
$1,227 Overtime for maintenance staff in repairing damage
$8,754 Salary costs for district employees to testify at court proceedings
$97,728 Salary costs for the two days Hillsdale High was closed

Source: San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office

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