Man charged in California wildfire refuses to go to courtAugust 9, 2018 11:34pm

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A man charged with starting a Southern California wildfire that has burned 12 cabins and forced at least 20,000 people from their homes refused to go to court Thursday, delaying his initial court appearance.

The arraignment for Forrest Clark was supposed to be Thursday, but the judge in the case said the suspect refused to go to court. His arraignment was rescheduled for Friday.

Clark, 51, is charged with three counts of arson, resisting arrest and deterring an executive officer. He is being held on $1 million bail and faces life in prison if convicted.

It's unclear if he has an attorney.

Clark is charged with setting the Holy Fire, which has burned 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) in the Cleveland National Forest since it began Monday.

At least 20,000 residents have had to evacuate their homes because of the blaze, which is just 5 percent contained.

The Orange County Register reported that Clark owns a cabin in the community of Holy Jim, where the fire began, and that his was the only one to survive the flames.

Michael Milligan, chief of the Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department, told the newspaper that Clark had a decade-long feud with neighbors and sent him threatening emails last week, including one that said, "this place will burn."

At one point Tuesday, Clark stripped naked as investigators questioned him about the fire and a Register photographer snapped pictures.

A man who identified himself as Clark spoke with a freelance video news crew the same day, telling them he had been terrorized by gangs and that "they told me they were going to send eight Mexicans, big Mexicans, and they were going to kill me."

When asked if he knew how the fire started, Clark said he had no idea.

"I was asleep. I had two earplugs in," he said. "I just woke up, dude."

Orange County sheriff's deputies received a call reporting "erratic behavior" by Clark on July 23 and placed him on a psychiatric hold, said Carrie Braun, a department spokeswoman. Deputies fielded another call about Clark on Aug. 2 and tried to find him but couldn't, Braun said.

She didn't have further details.

Clark's arrest marks the second such detention in two weeks. On July 25, police arrested Brandon McGlover on suspicion of setting the Cranston Fire in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles. That blaze destroyed five homes.

McGlover also faces a life sentence if convicted.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Sam Bee takes some photos through the smoke from a wildfire in remote areas as he and others were at the famous Tunnel View vista in Yosemite National Park during its reopening day in California, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. The nearly three-week closure was the result of a wildfire. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
Yosemite reopens to visitors with smoky air, limited lodging
n this Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 photo, Dawn Bodley, 62, sits in her home near Lakeport, Calif. Fire swept through Bodley's property but firefighters saved her home.  Firefighters are battling the largest wildfire on record in California, while foresters and other experts are working to repair the damage.   (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper)
After firefighting rips up the land, crews move in to fix it
Ex-ICE agent pleads not guilty to sexual assaultA former special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two women and using his position to make sure they didn't report the crimes
California man pleads guilty to smuggling gun parts to SyriaThe chief executive of a California check cashing business has pleaded guilty to helping smuggle rifle parts and other military equipment to rebels in his native Syria
Filing: Waffle House shooting suspect found unfit for trialProsecutors want court hearing after the suspect in a deadly shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House was deemed currently incompetent for trial
In this Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018 photo, Rachel Pilli poses at the Care Net Pregnancy Center in Redding, Calif. A couple whose flattened trailer tire reportedly started a massive fire in Northern California has received hundreds of cards and letters with supportive messages telling them not to feel guilty. The outpouring of support for an 81-year-old man and his wife started after Rachel Pilli posted a message Sunday on Facebook offering to forward compassionate messages to the couple. (Jessica Skropanic/Record Searchlight via AP)
Notes of support pour in for 2 who started California blaze

Related Searches

Related Searches