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Anchondo pleads guilty to setting fire to his parents' home

June 09, 2002|By MARO RENTERIA

Staff Writer

A 34-year-old Imperial man accused of setting fire to his parents' house pleaded guilty to an arson charge Friday in the county Superior Court in El Centro.

Michael Yniguez Anchondo will face up to eight years in prison, said Imperial County Deputy District Attorney Steve Honse.

Anchondo will be sentenced July 5 in the county jail court. Anchondo in April pleaded not guilty to the charge of arson and changed his plea just as his trial was starting.

Anchondo was on trial for burning down his parents' house at 512 N. C St. in Imperial about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 26.

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Anchondo was not living with his parents at the time the house burned.

About 1 a.m. the day of the fire, Anchondo called his sister Patricia Robb and asked for his parents. Robb told Anchondo they had gone out for the night.

Anchondo again called his sister about 2:30 a.m. and allegedly said, "If you see my parents, tell them their house is on fire."

After police and firefighters responded to the fire, Anchondo was found inside the house of a neighbor. He had blood on his clothing and soot on his face, according to reports.

Investigators also found blood on the window of Anchondo's parents' bedroom, where the fire is thought to have originated.

While police were interrogating Anchondo, he reportedly told them he set the bed sheets on fire but tried to extinguish them and then exited through the window.

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

"Here in the Valley, (arson is) not tolerated and especially agriculture arson. We take arson as one of the most serious crimes," Honse said.

That is the reason why the D.A.'s Office was reluctant to make Anchondo a plea offer, Honse added.

"This was egregious because he lit his father's house and almost burned the neighborhood," Honse said.

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

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