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Suspect’s competency stalls arson trial again
November 08, 2013, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Hugo Carranza

A 66-year-old house cleaner who allegedly torched an SUV in the parking lot of the Daly City Department of Motor Vehicles because he was angry about not reclaiming his towed vehicle may once again be unfit for trial, according to his defense attorney.

Hugo Carranza already spent several months at Napa State Hospital after doctors previously found him incompetent but he returned to San Mateo County in August after staff there felt he was finally able to aid in his own defense.

Carranza was scheduled to stand trial Nov. 12 for the April 2012 incident but yesterday defense attorney Tanya O’Malley raised the possibility of him slipping back into incompetence. The new doctor reports are due back Dec. 19.

Interestingly, O’Malley had planned to contest Carranza’s return but changed her mind and let the case go forward on the charges of arson and vandalism.

Carranza, whose vehicle had been towed by San Francisco police in October 2011, due to an expired registration, reportedly paid fines at the DMV office but could not get his car released. On April 23, 2012, he allegedly filled a bottle with oil or gas, randomly selected what he thought was an employee’s vehicle and poured the liquid over two tires before lighting them on fire. The 2008 Cadillac Escalade was scorched and the flames also damaged a Honda in an adjacent space.

A witness reported seeing Carranza walk away from the scene and the arson was reportedly caught on tape. At the scene, Carranza walked up to a police lieutenant and said “I’m the one who did it,” according to prosecutors.

Carranza remains in custody on $100,000 bail.



Tags: carranza, vehicle, defense,

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