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Doctor facing jail time for torching own office
January 31, 2014, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Noah Minskoff

A doctor deemed insane at the time he vandalized and torched his San Carlos electronic cigarette business following a mental breakdown is looking at up to six months in jail after pleading no contest to unlawfully causing a fire.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped other charges against Dr. Noah Mark Minskoff, 34, of Palo Alto, although they can still be considered at sentencing. Prosecutors also sought a one-year possible sentence but a judge capped the maximum at six months, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti.

Minskoff had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and two doctors concluded the former ex-Army Ranger was insane at the time. The conclusion meant Minskoff faced two trials, one for guilt and the other to determine if he would be incarcerated or hospitalized.

The negotiated settlement takes the commitment possibility off the table and his not guilty by reason of insanity plea will be withdrawn. He will be sentenced April 4.

Minskoff co-owned Thermo Essence Technologies in San Carlos and holds a patent for personal vaporizer inhalers.

Minskoff was in the midst of a divorce and had a court order prohibiting him from having weapons. However, in December, deputies removed weapons from the scenes of two separate incidents at the San Carlos business. On Dec. 15, deputies reported finding $10,000 worth of vandalism to the building and the property burned. Deputies took Minskoff into custody for his bizarre behavior and confiscated a loaded gun.

Two days later, according to prosecutors, deputies again responded to the business and found it ransacked with the floor burned and Minskoff, who was at the scene, asked them if they were there seeking employment. They took him once more into psychiatric custody and searched the business with the co-owner. Inside, they reported finding four assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. They also reported finding a pair of brass knuckles in his car.

Minskoff has also been in a locked psychiatric facility since his arrest. As long as he remains there, he is free on a $150,000 bail bond.

 

 

Tags: minskoff, business, deputies, weapons, reported, finding,


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