CHULA VISTA (CNS) – A man pleaded guilty to an arson count Monday for setting a fire in Chula Vista, one of several blazes he was arrested on suspicion of sparking.
Alejandro Gonzalez, 33, is slated to be sentenced Jan. 13 to a 32-month prison term.
He was initially charged with four felony counts of arson of a structure or forest involving blazes on May 24, June 14, Sept. 17 and Sept. 20, but those counts were dismissed Monday morning as part of his plea to a newly filed arson of property count.
The new count is not connected with a specific fire, but Deputy District Attorney Roza Egiazarian said all the blazes he was charged with setting will be considered at his sentencing hearing.
According to Chula Vista police, who said about a dozen blazes were sparked at various locations throughout the city since late April, Gonzalez was arrested near the scene of a Sept. 20 brush fire.
Officers spotted him “walking quickly away” from the blaze in the 1700 block of Fourth Avenue, according to police, who said he had several lighters in his possession and during questioning, “admitted to intentionally setting several brush fires in the river-bottom area over the past five months. Gonzalez claimed he was setting the fires due to hearing voices.”
Chula Vista police said the fires were largely in the river bottom area that Gonzalez was “known to frequent” and mostly charred vegetation. In addition to the river bottom fires, police say there were four separate suspicious fires set less than 10 minutes apart on Sept. 17, along with a Sept. 19 fire at Veterans Park.