Lake Oswego High grad sentenced in 2014 firebombing
Former Lake Oswego High School student Travis Toal pleaded guilty in Clackamas County Circuit Court on Monday to firebombing a Lake Oswego home in June 2014 while four members of the Corrigan family were asleep upstairs.
Toal, who is now 20, was charged with three counts of first-degree arson and one count each of manufacturing a destructive device, possession of a destructive device and unlawful use of a weapon in the attack. But he agreed to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree arson in exchange for dropping the other charges, and was sentenced to spend one year in jail.
According to Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Bill Golden, Toal constructed the firebomb by mixing gasoline and Styrofoam inside a glass Starbucks bottle, creating a flammable gelatinous substance akin to napalm. He then lit the mixture on fire and threw it into the kitchen of the Corrigan home in the 4000 block of Upper Drive.
The family woke up and put out the fire, and no injuries were reported. But parents Christopher and Trudy Corrigan told the court that the fire came close to spreading beyond the kitchen and caused significant damage.
The Corrigans were forced to move out of the house for six weeks and conduct expensive repairs, Trudy Corrigan said, but the biggest impact was psychological.
"Though terrorized, we were able to fight back and save our house and ourselves," Christopher Corrigan said in a Victim Impact Statement. "Since that night, we have lived with that attack and its aftermath — a thousand sleepless nights."
The identity and motive of the perpetrator were initially unknown, and it was more than two years before the family learned who attacked them. At Monday's hearing, Christopher Corrigan called the incident "a premeditated attack on a sleeping family," and referred to Toal as an "overpriveleged and unaccountable young man."
Toal was 17 at the time of the attack and had graduated two weeks earlier from Lake Oswego High School, but he was not arrested in connection with the incident until Dec. 19, 2016. According to Golden, the arrest was prompted by a combination of DNA evidence and a tip from a witness with whom Toal had spoken.
In her own statement, Trudy Corrigan said that Toal's attack was intended to target their daughter, Keely Corrigan, whom Toal had verbally and physically bullied in school prior to the incident. She said Keely Corrigan, who was 18 at the time, had stood up to Toal, and that Toal retaliated with the firebombing.
At the time of his arrest, Toal was a junior at the University of Southern California. Both Golden and Toal's defense attorney, Steven Myers, stated that he suffers from mental health problems that contributed to the incident, and Myers said that Toal has been evaluated and has been receiving treatment.
The plea agreement emphasizes the need for that treatment to continue.
The agreement also includes several other stipulations. In addition to the year in jail, Toal will serve 60 months of probation and must have no contact with the Corrigan family or Lake Oswego High School. The agreement also includes a 36-month prison sentence to be imposed if Toal violates his probation, as well as restitution to the Corrigan family in an amount still to be determined.
Toal will be unable to apply to have his record expunged for an additional five years after the probation period.
Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Douglas Van Dyk opted to sentence Toal in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, and said the case highlighted the importance of providing both accountability and mental health treatment.
"You have a duty to protect this community from you," he said, addressing Toal directly. "And I expect you to rise to it. You owe that family your rehabilitation."
At one point on Monday, Toal asked to address the Corrigan family directly and said that he had suffered from "lapses in judgement" caused by an incorrect choice of medication for his existing mental health issues, which had the effect of making them worse.
"I'm deeply sorry for my actions," he told the Corrigans.