Accused Church Arsonist Enters Not Guilty Plea

A man accused of setting fire to a church in Spring Valley last week denied the arson allegations and entered a not guilty plea in court Tuesday.

Eugene Volk, 45, was arrested Thursday in connection with a fire that broke out at Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley on Oct. 8.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, investigators developed sufficient probable cause to arrest Volk as the prime suspect in the arson case.

On Thursday, investigators located Volk walking near the church and took him into custody on several charges including arson to an inhabited structure, vandalizing a place of worship and committing a felony while on bail.

If convicted, Volk faces 25 years to life in prison. He’s scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 25.

Investigators say the fire at Santa Sophia Catholic Church caused more than $200,000 in damage. Officials deemed the blaze suspicious in nature from the onset and later determined it was arson.

No one was injured in the fire – which started near an altar and crucifix – and crews were able to knock down the blaze within 10 minutes. A group of Boy Scouts were meeting in an adjacent building when the fire broke out, but they were evacuated safely.

Investigators have not yet released details regarding the execution of the crime or the motive.

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