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L.A. arson suspect's mother: My son is 'one little mental child'

January 6, 2012 |  5:18 pm

Arson mother
Extradition proceedings for the mother of suspected serial arsonist Harry Burkhart were delayed again Friday as the woman claimed that her son was innocent and that she was being beaten and tortured in custody.

"One little mental child here cannot cause big fires," Dorothee Burkhart said before the hearing in federal court began, addressing the courtroom audience in broken English and saying her son had been "shadowed."

"My son is not biggest arsoner," she said. "He is biggest sufferer." 

MAP: Southland arsons

Burkhart again refused to be represented by a federal public defender. Magistrate Judge Margaret Nagle said that she would order a panel attorney appointed and allow Burkhart to consider hiring a private attorney, but that she was postponing the hearing "one last time."

The woman stood up and bared her upper left arm repeatedly to the audience, claiming she had been beaten.

"Ma'am, please sit down. This is not a show," Nagle told her.

PHOTOS: Southland arsons

Repeatedly talking over the judge and rambling about her and her son being victims of "Nazi persecution," Burkhart said she needed time to gather evidence and witnesses to show that the German case against her was bogus.

Nagle told her that a hearing on whether there was probable cause for her extradition would not take place until a later date. After the hearing, Burkhart turned to the audience again and shouted: "I'm not guilty, my son is not guilty."

"He didn't do anything," she said.

A public defender appointed to Harry Burkhart's arson case and two representatives from the German Consulate were present in court but did not speak. The older Burkhart was ordered to return to court  Tuesday.

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Image: A sketch of Dorothee Burkhart in federal court in Los Angeles. Credit: Bill Robles / Associated Press

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