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Daly City arsonist found competent, takes plea deal
March 13, 2014, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Hugo Carranza

A 66-year-old house cleaner charged with torching a car at the Daly City Department of Motor Vehicles pleaded no contest to felony arson immediately after court-appointed doctors found him competent to stand trial, according to prosecutors.

Hugo Carranza, who had already spent several months committed at a state hospital after his arrest, was scheduled for a trial Wednesday to determine if he was again unable to aid in his own defense. Instead, he took the plea deal and was immediately sentenced to a three years in prison with credit for time served, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Carranza was scheduled to be released from jail later that day.

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 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.

Before he could stand trial last year, Carranza was declared incompetent. Last August, he returned to San Mateo County for prosecution after hospital staff declared him restored. In November 2013, his defense attorney again raised the issue.

 

 

Tags: carranza, after, trial,


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