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Man accused of starting King Fire indicted by El Dorado County grand jury

Wayne Allen Huntsman, shown in court on Sept. 19, 2014, was arraigned Monday on felony arson charges associated with the King fire, which burned 98,000 acres.
Wayne Allen Huntsman, shown in court on Sept. 19, 2014, was arraigned Monday on felony arson charges associated with the King fire, which burned 98,000 acres. Sacramento Bee file

The man accused of starting the King Fire near Pollock Pines in El Dorado County in September was arraigned Monday on charges stemming from a grand jury indictment.

El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson announced that Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was indicted Dec. 3 by an El Dorado County grand jury. He is charged with arson of forest land, a felony, and with multiple special allegations of arson with aggravating factors, a District Attorney’s Office news release shows.

The fire started Sept. 13, and burned nearly 98,000 acres, a dozen homes and 68 minor structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The indictment includes special allegations that the fire resulted in great bodily injury to a firefighter and others, as well as property damage and other losses exceeding $6.5 million. It alleges that Huntsman set the fire “willfully, maliciously, deliberately, with premeditation and with intent to cause injury.”

The indictment also cites Huntsman’s prior convictions for offenses in Santa Cruz and Plumas counties, including assault with a deadly weapon and theft.

Huntsman’s bail remains set at $10 million. His defense attorney filed a motion to recuse the judge, according to the District Attorney’s Office, and the matter is scheduled for a trial-setting conference Jan. 23.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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