Suspect denies setting fire to East County Catholic church - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Suspect denies setting fire to East County Catholic church

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EL CAJON (CNS) - An ex-con accused of setting a fire that caused more than $200,000 in damages to a Catholic church near Mount Helix pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony arson and vandalism charges.

Eugene William Volk, 45, who prosecutors said had two convictions from a 1991 vehicular manslaughter case, faces 25 years to life if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar said.

Volk was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

He was arrested Thursday as he walked near fire-damaged Santa Sophia Church on San Juan Street in Spring Valley, sheriff's arson Detective Anthony Portillo said..

The fire was reported Oct. 8 about 8 p.m. just north of Campo Road and state Route 94. It took firefighters about 10 minutes to put out the noninjury blaze, which caused extensive damage to the church interior.

Authorities declined to disclose a motive for setting the fire or say what led them Volk.

Volk -- formally charged with arson of a structure and vandalism of religious property -- will be back in court Oct. 25 for a readiness conference and Oct. 28 for a preliminary hearing.

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