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Man charged with 54 arson-related offenses, including first-degree murder of elderly woman

Samuel Scholfield, 18, was charged with 54 arson-related offenses Tuesday, including first-degree murder, on suspicion of lighting several fires between July 27 and Oct. 26, 2018.
Samuel Scholfield, 18, was charged with 54 arson-related offenses Tuesday, including first-degree murder, on suspicion of lighting several fires between July 27 and Oct. 26, 2018. Shasta County Sheriff's Office

A Shasta County man was charged with 54 arson-related offenses Tuesday, including first-degree murder, in connection with several fires in Cottonwood and Anderson between July 27 and Oct. 26, some during the state of emergency declared due to the Carr Fire.

Samuel Scholfield, 18, of Cottonwood is suspected of having started several fires that damaged homes, structures and vegetation in a three-month period, including one house fire on Oct. 7 that resulted in the death of Barcie Arlene Miller, an 86-year-old Cottonwood resident, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office said in a Facebook post.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office reported four suspected arson fires in Anderson on Oct. 26 — one vegetation fire, one structure fire, and two fires set in occupied residences, according to a post on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

Authorities observed a red 2000 Nissan Sentra leaving the area of the last house fire and after pulling the car over at a traffic stop, identified Scholfield as the driver and arrested him, according to deputies.

Two incendiary devices were found in the front seat of the car and a search of Scholfield’s cell phone found searches related to arson and arson investigations, according to the DA’s office.

Investigators determined there were over 40 arson fires in Cottonwood and Anderson set between July and October, according to prosecutors.

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