Poway man facing multiple arson charges - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Poway man facing multiple arson charges

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Trial continued Friday with opening statements for a Poway man accused of starting several fires.

Jonathan Cohen, 45, was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of setting five fires in forest area, but officials believe he started at least three additional fires.

The deputy attorney called Cohen a serial arsonist.

During opening statements, the deputy district attorney said Cohen told a fellow inmate he hated casinos and wanted them to burn down.

Matches from Barona Casino were found at some of the fire scenes and similar matchbooks were found in Cohen's possession.

The prosecution also said license plate readers, hidden cameras, and GPS trackers prove Cohen was in the area around the time several of the fires were started.

Cohen's defense said his car was in the area because he was heading to and from the local casinos. Further, Cohen's attorney said there were no witnesses and no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that would show Cohen started any of the fires.

The trial is expected to last several days. Among those scheduled to take the stand include a convicted felon and those who set up license plate readers and hidden cameras to try and catch the fire starter.

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