SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 21-year-old woman accused of setting her ex-boyfriend's Southcrest home on fire after a heated argument must stand trial on arson and other charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Yohana Merry Gutierrez faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
She was on probation for illegal use of tear gas when she was arrested Dec. 3 in connection with the fire at the home of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Oscar Fabian Garcia.
Garcia, 26, testified during an hourlong preliminary hearing that they got into a heated argument at her mother's house over cell phone calls and he decided to walk home to his residence on Acacia Street, which takes about 30 minutes.
As Garcia approached his residence, he said he noticed a truck he didn't recognize parked outside, then heard the front door slam and saw Gutierrez running away just before 2 p.m.
"I said, Where do you think you're going?" Garcia testified. "She said, 'Get out of my way!"'
Garcia said he noticed his home was on fire, then saw an explosion and flames coming out a front window. He said Gutierrez ran from the truck parked outside, and he gave chase.
Garcia testified that he lost sight of Gutierrez and went back to his house to help douse the flames, then left to look for her again and saw that she was in police custody nearby.
The witness testified that he kept a two-gallon gas can in his truck because his gas gauge didn't work, and that Gutierrez knew about it.
San Diego police Officer Alan Dyemartin testified he smelled the odor of gasoline coming from the defendant when he arrested her near 38th Street and Beta.
Fire Investigator Lawrence Gordon said the blaze was started when someone poured gasoline on a sofa in a bedroom and the fire spread to a bed, closet and furniture.
Damage was estimated at $130,000.
Judge Jeffrey Fraser ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing for Gutierrez to stand trial on charges of arson, residential burglary and possession of flammable material. She will be back in court Jan. 21 for a readiness conference. Trial was set for Feb. 8.
Several dogs are in the custody of San Diego County, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.
Chilly temperatures and scattered showers started the weekend. Temperatures at the coast and inland communities hovered around 60 degrees with some areas of San Diego County receiving rain during the morning hours.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.
Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that’s likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.