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Judge orders $13M Robbers Fire suspect’s release from custody

Insufficient evidence to hold him over for trial, ruling says
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The man suspected of starting the 2,650-acre Robbers Fire near Foresthill that cost more than $13 million to extinguish has been released from custody after a judge ruled that there had been insufficient evidence to hold him over for trial.

Bryon Craig Mason, 28, of Sacramento, had faced two charges of arson, including a felony count of arson causing great bodily injury to a firefighter.

“The District Attorney’s Office disagrees with the judge’s ruling and remains committed to seeking justice for all the victims of the Robbers Fire including those firefighters who placed themselves at risk in order to mitigate the damage caused by the defendant’s action,” according to a press release from the Placer County District Attorney’s office.

The Placer County Superior Court judge’s ruling came Tuesday after a preliminary hearing had been held Feb. 14 through Feb. 20. The court is set to discuss further proceedings in the case on April 2.

Mason had been held at the Placer County Jail since his July 24, 2012 arrest in lieu of posting $500,000 bail. It had been alleged that he sparked the fire by lighting and throwing an illegal firework at a swimming hole of Shirttail Creek.

The fire burned from July 11 through July 22, 2012 and consumed a single residence and four outbuildings and threatened 170 other residences. It spread through the American River Canyon between Foresthill and Colfax.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews