Topaz teen denies burning classmate |

Topaz teen denies burning classmate

by Maggie O'Neill

MINDEN – A 14-year-old Topaz boy accused of setting a classmate on fire was ordered released on Tuesday after denying a charge of endangerment causing substantial bodily harm.

District Court Judge David Gamble released Joshua Lee Thomas-Bryant from the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center, where he has been since his Jan. 21 arrest.

He ordered the boy to stay with his grandparents in Topaz and denied the request of Thomas-Bryant’s attorney, Carolyn Tanner, to allow the boy to stay with a grandfather in Discovery Bay, Calif.

“The concern is, when there are threats from students at (Pau-Wa-Lu Middle) school, do we wait for them to be carried out?” Tanner asked. “Everyone’s preference is to get him out to California.”

The District Attorney’s Office has charged Thomas-Bryant based on witness reports he set another 14-year-old boy, Ky Nielsen, on fire at a Topaz ranch Jan. 15.

Gamble said he wanted to keep the boy in the area unless the family wished to permanently move Thomas-Bryant in with his grandfather in Discovery Bay.

Gamble said that wherever Thomas-Bryant goes, Juvenile Probation Officer Eric Andersen is to have daily contact with him.

The district court judge forbade Thomas-Bryant from using a computer, possessing a lighter and taking the bus to school.

“This is a test to see whether you can live in a set of rules I give you,” he told the boy.

“Yes, sir,” he replied.

Tanner asked to be removed from the case due to her prior involvement with one of the juvenile witnesses in the case.

Gamble appointed attorney Tom Gregory and asked Deputy District Attorney Kristine Brown to notify him when the next hearing has been set.

Contact Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 782-5121, ext. 214.