Sister of Cocos Fire Suspect Takes Stand

The sister of a teen girl accused of starting the Cocos Fire was tight-lipped and tentative as she took the stand on Thursday.

She confirmed that her sister laughed as she told her there was a fire in the family’s backyard – which ultimately set off the larger May fire.

The 15-year-old sister’s testimony came on the third day of trial. The suspect is charged with four felonies and was just 13 when she was accused of setting the tree in her backyard on fire. The blaze left an ember behind that floated away and caused last May’s devastating fire that burned dozens of homes.

The suspect’s sister was tentative as she took the stand, answering most questions with one-word answers.

The prosecutor pressed her for answers. Often, there were long pauses and the judge tried to intercede to help get answers. Eventually, the line of questioning turned to the sister's state of mind.

The prosecutor asked: Are you sad?

“Yes,” she said.

Are you nervous?

“Yes,” she said.

Asked if she was worried about her sister, the girl broke down in tears.

The 15-year-old did confirm that she told authorities that her sister came into her room, told her about the fire in the backyard and was laughing.

However, after the girl left the stand, the judge noted many inconsistencies in her testimony, raising issues of hearsay and impeachment.

This means her credibility could be challenged later by other evidence brought to trial.

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