By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Four Del Norte High School students were arrested this week, accused of forcing a fellow student into a car at the high school, robbing him and beating him.
"One juvenile will definitely be charged as an adult. He fits the criteria," District Attorney Robert Drossel said yesterday, in what he described as a "bizarre case."
Three of the four defendants are juveniles, as is the victim. Two of the defendants were in court yesterday to hear the charges against them.
David Ray Schumack, 17, sat teary-eyed as he was charged with kidnapping with the purpose of robbery, dissuading a witness by force or threat, assault with a deadly weapon, making a criminal threat, attempting to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury and second-degree robbery.
Schumack's attorney, Scott Hoxeng, entered a "not guilty" plea for his client. After being escorted from the courtroom yesterday, extra deputies were summoned when Schumack began shouting loudly enough to disrupt the court proceedings. Schumack's preliminary hearing is set for 8 a.m., Oct. 15.
Also in court was Donald Carriea Schoonover, 18, of Crescent City, who has been charged with kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and making terrorist threats. Schoonover's attorney, Rick McClendon, said he wanted his client's plea to be "held in abeyance" until Oct. 15.
Both defendants were issued restraining orders to stay away from the alleged victim, Seth Phillips, for at least three months, although both defendants are currently in custody. Schumack's bail hearing is next week. Schoonover is being held on $50,000 bail.
Along with Schumack, two other juveniles are in custody at the Del Norte County juvenile hall.
The incident took place on Oct. 1 at the high school, according to Principal Jan Moorehouse.
"We were made aware of it when we received a call from one of the parents," Moorehouse said. "This is something that happened between kids who all know each other. One of them supposedly stole something from the others, he was escorted to a car, placed in the car and driven off."
Moorehouse, who said the school is conducting a parallel investigation, declined to comment further on the details except to say the alleged victim was assaulted off campus.
Commander Tony Luis of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department said, "There was a kidnapping and criminal threats. There was a robbery and an assault ¬Ė those are the charges. We weren't notified until Oct. 7 and that's when we began our investigation." Luis declined further comment without consulting with Drossel, except to say "This is a substantial case."
"We want justice. We want our school to be safe," Moorehouse said. "This is in no way our usual business here. Nothing like this has ever happened in my career or any of the administrators. And it's awful that something like this might flash in the minds of parents that this is a common occurrence, because it's not."
Moorehouse added the event might have been averted had the students consulted with parents or school staff instead of settling their differences on their own.