EL CAJON (CNS) - An ex-con accused of setting fires that caused more than $200,000 in damage to a Catholic church near Mount Helix must stand trial on arson and vandalism charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Eugene William Volk was also bound over for trial on hate crime allegations, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar.
Volk, who prosecutors said has prior "strike" convictions from 1991 vehicular manslaughter and 1988 residential burglary cases, faces 40 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the prosecutor.
Volk, 45, was arrested Oct. 10 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 non-injury blaze, which caused extensive damage to the church interior.
Volk allegedly set three separate fires inside the church.
According to testimony Wednesday at the defendant's preliminary hearing, a man who had hired Volk to do some work, and subsequently let him go, said Volk had confronted him before the arson incident and had made disparaging remarks about Catholics.
After his arrest, Volk also made derogatory comments to investigators about the Catholic Church, Aguilar said.
Judge Evan Kirvin found that enough evidence was presented during the hearing to order Volk to stand trial May 5. A readiness conference was set for March 5 in El Cajon.
A 17-year-old girl called police after escaping from her family's home where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, some so malnourished officers at first believed all were children even though seven are adults.
Temperatures are expected to yo-yo over the next few days in San Diego County with slightly cooler weather expected Tuesday.
Organizers of an initiative that would raise revenue to expand the downtown convention center and pay for roads and homelessness services will offer a more "in-depth" look at their ballot proposal Tuesday.
Surfers in the North County are rallying to support a 16-year-old girl who was diagnosed with brain cancer.
A 33-year-old inmate from San Diego who escaped from a San Bernardino County prison was apprehended Monday in Encinitas.
While a Shelltown couple went on vacation, they put their trust in a 19-year-old pet sitter at home.
County offices, libraries and animal shelters closed to the public Monday, Jan. 15 in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Fire can be almost hypnotic and fire dancing is an art form you see more and more these days, but have you ever thought about going on stage and putting on a show yourself?
It's no secret there are numerous health benefits to switching to a vegetarian diet, but did you know that part-time vegetarians cut their obesity risk in half?