Sentencing for ex-con in church arson case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Sentencing for ex-con in church arson case

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EL CAJON (CNS) - An ex-con who set a series of fires inside a Catholic church near Mount Helix, causing more than $200,000 in damage, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday at the courthouse in El Cajon.

Eugene William Volk, 46, pleaded guilty in April to an arson charge and admitted a hate crime allegation.

Volk, who has prior "strike" convictions from 1991 vehicular manslaughter and 1988 residential burglary cases, faces 27 years in prison.

The defendant was arrested last 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.

Firefighters were called to the church just north of Campo Road and state Route 94 last Oct. 8 about 8 p.m. It took firefighters about 10 minutes to put out the three separate blazes, which caused extensive damage to the church interior.

According to testimony last December, 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, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar.

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