SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who threw nine firebombs at trucks, buildings and police cars over a three-day period, causing at least $50,000 in damage, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a pair of felony arson charges and will be placed in a probation program for mentally ill offenders.
Edward Charles Batties, 27, will be sentenced Feb. 3 by Judge Eugenia Eyherabide.
At that time, the defendant will have a 6-year, 4-month prison sentence suspended and he will be placed in the program for mentally ill offenders, said Deputy Public Kenneth Kaminski.
Kaminski praised the District Attorney's Office and the Probation Department for their work to ensure that Batties gets the mental health treatment he needs.
"All pieces of the criminal justice system worked," the defense attorney said.
Batties was arrested about 5:30 a.m. Feb. 7 after a high-speed chase near the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 15 near Temecula.
Deputy District Attorney Rick Clabby said at the time that Batties made firebombs out of glass containers and filled them with an accelerant, such as gasoline, and threw them at three police substations, a middle school, a home and a vacant office building.
Batties began his rampage two nights earlier by tossing a Molotov cocktail into the parking lot of the San Diego Police Department's Mid-City Division station in City Heights, authorities said.
Fire officials said the defendant also threw a firebomb at nearby Monroe Clark Middle School, but there was no damage.
Around 4 p.m. on Feb. 6, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was set ablaze on Mission Bay Drive. The vehicle was destroyed, but no one was injured, fire officials said.
The crime spree continued around 7:30 p.m. that same day, when a firebomb was tossed over a fence and into the parking lot of the SDPD Eastern Division station on Aero Drive, authorities said.
Shortly afterward, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Serra Mesa house. It broke a window but landed in a yard and burned itself out, causing minimal damage, fire officials said.
About 5 a.m. the next day, a San Diego police officer responding to a reported car burglary in Del Mar Heights spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle and gave chase.
The California Highway Patrol joined the pursuit, which ended shortly after Batties drove over a spike strip near Rainbow at the Riverside County line, authorities said.
When caught, Batties had a 5-gallon container of gas in his car, Clabby said.