Cocos Fire Arsonist Learns Fate at Sentencing Hearing - NBC 7 San Diego

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Cocos Fire Arsonist Learns Fate at Sentencing Hearing

A teen found guilty of setting the Cocos Fire was sentenced Wednesday. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala and Omari Fleming report. (Published Wednesday, May 27, 2015)

The San Marcos teenager who started one of the most devastating wildfires in San Diego's North County by playing with a lighter during red flag conditions will have to undergo 400 hours of community service.

The now 14-year-old girl appeared for her sentencing hearing on Wednesday to learn her fate, which included no time in juvenile hall. The judge ordered the teen to write apology letters to all of the victims, and she will have to payback some of the victims.

According to prosecutors, $6 million in restitution claims have been filed, though more can come in, and the family has agreed to pay it. The family is only responsible for up to $40,000 of those claims, according to prosecutors. 

She will also have to enroll in a rehabilitation program called Breaking Cycles 365. 

Cocos Fire Arsonist to Learn Fate

[DGO] Cocos Fire Arsonist to Learn Fate
NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports on what's expected to happen at the hearing for the juvenile found guilty of starting the fire that swept San Marcos in May 2014.
(Published Wednesday, May 27, 2015)

From Wednesday up until the age she is 21, the teen will be a ward of the court and will be on probation. That status could change, according to prosecutors, but she has to report to the court every 60 days. She will also have to follow a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

She intentionally set two fires near her home back in May 2014, according to a judge's ruling two months ago. One of those fires sent an ember nearly a half mile away to spark the destructive Cocos Fire.

That fire prompted the evacuation of a large area of San Marcos and ultimately destroyed 36 homes and caused $10.4 million in damage.

Judge Howard Shore ruled the teenager acted willfully and maliciously but there wasn't any evidence that she wanted to hurt someone or something.

Adele Boyer lost the Crestwind Drive home she owned with her husband. They haven’t rebuilt and, considering the issues they’ve faced with insurance coverage, they don’t know if they will rebuild.

“I don’t think she feels anything,” Boyer said of the juvenile defendant.

Boyer said she planned to speak in the hearing. She wants to ask the teenager why she did what she did.

“How she could feel that going out and lighting fires two days in a row is the right thing to do in a red flag warning,” Boyer said.

One neighbor said she hopes the girl gets the help she needs. 

"Like a teenager they never think beyond their actions but hopefully she can get some counseling and care through a psychiatrist and hopefully she won't become one of those fire bugs but yeah it was really bad," said Sharyl Falk.

It is NBC 7’s policy not to identify juvenile defendants.

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