A couple from California, whose party with fireworks last year caused a huge fire in which a firefighter died, has been accused of premeditated murder, reports “New York Post”.
Refhio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Rene Jimenez pleaded not guilty to murder charges and 29 other counts linked to the September 2020 El Dorado fire.
The forest fire was reportedly caused by a pyrotechnic device used by the couple at a party, which burned dry grass at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, east of LA. The couple tried to extinguish the fire with bottled water, but strong winds and hot weather ignited the fire.
The El Dorado fire, which took more than two months to bring under control, killed Charles Morton, 39, leader of the elite Big Bar firefighting team, and injured 13 others. The fire destroyed five houses and 15 other buildings, evacuated hundreds of people and covered an area of about 36 square miles.
In addition to the charge of manslaughter, the Jimenez couple faces three counts of negligent arson with serious bodily harm, four counts of negligent arson and 22 misdemeanors of negligent arson.
According to the report, the couple faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts.