Man Convicted of Setting Fires in Highland Park

By City News Service

A 38-year-old convicted arsonist, who’s accused of intentionally setting two fires at an address in the Highland Park area, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges.

Javier Viera, who was previously convicted of arson crimes in the city of Pasadena, is facing two counts of arson of a structure and one count of aggravated arson.

Viera, who’s being held on $1.58 million bail, is due back in court on Dec. 6, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Viera was arrested Friday at his home, eight days after Los Angeles Fire Department investigators “responded to a suspected arson fire in the 300 block of North Kirby Street, where they encountered…Viera at the scene,” LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said.

“At the Kirby Street fire, investigators discovered a second intentionally set fire that had failed to spread at the base of a garage,” he said.

Viera already considered a suspect in a series of deliberately set trash container and vehicle fires in May in the Highland Park area, Sanders said.

Viera was convicted of 11 counts of arson in 2014, according to the criminal complaint.

“Arson is a serious crime and we have zero tolerance for willful acts of destruction in the city of Los Angeles,” LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said after Viera’s arrest.

“We are thankful there were no injuries or lives lost as a result of these fires and we will always investigate and prosecute the serious crime of arson to the fullest extent of the law,” Terrazas said.

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November 23, 2016  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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