NEWS.com.au | Blaster suspect first to be charged (September 1, 2003). While I have no real sympathy for virus hackers; this kid basically just did something dumb. Sadly he'll cop a hefty sentence for that mistake; since people still have a weird (over)reaction to what they consider "hacking". Keep in mind he didn't write the virus, he just modified it... plus he made it really easy to track the attack back to himself. So he's hardly a master criminal - he's just an unhappy kid who felt marginalised (according to people who knew him).
In years gone by an antisocial kid would probably have got in trouble for some minor offense - vandalism, shoplifting or whatever. It's just the scale of the petty crime that's changed things here. An unhappy kid releases a virus; thousands of people are inconvenienced. If he'd thrown a rock through a window; it wouldn't be news. Just another weird social effect of the modern world.
Update: another article, which goes into more depth - High school student who threatened online world - smh.com.au.