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2 plead no contest to starting 2007 Malibu fire that destroyed 53 homes

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/11/16/breafire.jpgTwo men accused of starting the Malibu Corral Canyon fire in 2007 pleaded no contest Wednesday morning to recklessly starting the blaze that consumed 53 homes and injured six firefighters.

Brian Alan Anderson and William Thomas Coppock, who were 22 and 23 at the time of the fire, admitted to felony charges of starting a fire that caused injury and caused an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn. An additional charge alleging that the men set the fire in an area where a state of emergency had been declared is expected to be dropped at the time of sentencing.

The men were ordered to undergo a diagnostic study in June and return to court in September for sentencing. A third man, Brian David Franks, pleaded no contest in 2008 and received a sentence of five years' probation and 300 hours of community service. 

Franks testified in the preliminary hearing for Anderson and Coppock. Charges against two other defendants, Dean Allen Lavorante and Eric Matthew Ullman, remain pending.

Authorities accused the five men, whom they described as coming from working- and middle-class backgrounds, of starting an illegal campfire in a cave in the Malibu hills known as a late-night party hangout. Police identified the men by tracing alcohol containers, food wrappers and bundled fire logs left at the site to a nearby grocery store.

--Victoria Kim

Photo: Firefighters battle the 2007 blaze. L.A. Times file

Comments () | Archives (6)

There are things in the world that is going farrrrrrrrr worse than fires being started yes its sad the 53 homes were distroyed but its not like those people didnt have money to rebuild. what about the homeless whose blanket gets burned or a mother with 2 small children living in a card board box that gets burned would that be news?

illegal camp fire, illegal invasion of 12 million illegals... yeah lets go after these guys. Please if illegals were gone, malibu could be rebuilt and the money saved could pay for it.

These depraved irresponsbile miscreants ruined the lives of 53 families, wreaked untold havoc on society, destroyed important forestation, and endangered the lives of so many people that a punishment of 5 years probation and 300 hours of community service is not only an insult but a encouraging perception to others that now know they will get a slap on the wrist. These litttle prix should be burned at the stake.

wow "none" that may be the most ridiculous, idiotic comment ive ever read. you are a complete idiot.

Just another ooopsy by users of recreational, non-habit forming medical marijuana. And you know, that stuff makes you really thirsty, so lets go buy some beer and start a bonfire up in the canyon on a windy night. Brilliant.

Whaaa? Five (5) Years PROBATION? ! For "reckelessly" starting a fire in a previously declared "Emergency - No Fires Allowed" zone? Wha???

To his probation conditions: What, he just has to refrain from burning down ANOTHER 53 families' HOMES and then he is off, scott-free? What???

Starting firest like these is akin to downing a liter of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a GIANT 18-WHEELER TRUCK downhill, pointing at homes and schools and innocent people.

JUDGES: Get real, and start throwing these CRIMINALS in JAIL.

OK, guys let's go start a campfire in a dangerous fire-prone area, 'cuz the worst that happens is 300 hours picking up trash by the roadside ! HAH!

No Deterrent, Repeat the Crimes!


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