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Trial ahead for Imperial man accused of burning home

April 18, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

A Superior Court Judge found there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial against a 34-year-old Imperial man accused of burning down his parents' house in Imperial.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon in the county jail court, Superior Court Judge Christopher Yeager found enough evidence to go forward with a trial for Michael Yniguez Anchondo.

Anchondo is accused of burning down his parents house at 512 N. C St. in Imperial about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 26. Earlier this year Anchondo pleaded not guilty to that arson charge.

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An arraignment was set by Yeager for May 1 in the County Courthouse in El Centro. At that hearing a trial date will be set by the judge.

Deputy District Attorney Steve Honse said prosecutors have overwhelming evidence against Anchondo, which includes his admission of the crime to a neighbor, his sister and police.

Honse said Anchondo called his sister Patricia Robb about 1 the morning of the fire and asked for his parents. Robb told Anchondo they had gone out for the night.

Anchondo was not living with his parents at the time. About 2:30 a.m. Anchondo again called his sister and allegedly said, "If you see my parents, tell them their house is on fire."

Honse said after police and firefighters responded to the fire Anchondo was found inside the house of a neighbor, Betty Drysdale.

Anchondo allegedly told Drysdale, "I finally did it," referring to burning his parents' house.

Anchondo was found in Drysdale's house with blood on his clothing and soot on his face, Honse said. He said investigators found blood on the window Anchondo's parents' bedroom where they think the fire originated.

Honse said while police were interrogating Anchondo he admitted he set bed sheets on fire but tried to extinguish them and then exited through the window.

Neighboring houses were also in danger during the fire. Honse said one of the houses was saved by its owner, who kept the blaze from spreading to his house with a hose.

>>Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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