Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Man pleads not guilty in deadly California fire

19 December 2013, 15:33

Redding - A former fire-fighter pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and several arson charges in connection with a wildfire that killed one person and destroyed dozens of structures in rural northern California.

Zane Wallace Peterson, 29, entered his plea in court one day after he was arrested on allegations he started two fires that turned into the massive Clover Fire in Shasta County.

Peterson's arrest came after three months of investigation, said state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Captain Scott McLean. Peterson is also accused of starting six other fires since September.

He faces hundreds of charges related to the fires, including arson causing great bodily injury, and arson of inhabited dwellings, said Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna. If convicted, faces a 25 years to life sentence for the murder charge and 90 years for the arson charges, Hanna said.

A call placed to a number for Peterson was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Peterson is being held on $3m bail and is due back in court on 2 January. He was represented Wednesday by a public defender, Hanna said.

McLean said the case is still ongoing.


"There's still more work to be done on our part to make sure this comes to a positive conclusion," he said. He declined to go into more specifics about the case, including a motive, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Clover Fire in early September charred nearly 33.67 square kilometres, destroyed 68 homes and 128 other structures.

The fire also has been blamed for the death Brian Stanley Henry, 56, whose body was found inside a motor home destroyed by flames in the community of Igo, north of Sacramento.

Hanna said Peterson was a former firefighter. Records kept by the US Forest Service show Peterson worked for the Mendocino National Forest at one time, according to the Record Searchlight of Redding (http://bit.ly/1bQvw9a ).

Peterson, however, had not been employed by the forest service for more than a year, said Stanton Florea, spokesperson for the Pacific Southwest region.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...