>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

Sonora, CA forecast
& Northern California web cams

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Rim Fire suspect pleads not guilty

Rim Fire suspect pleads not guilty

Keith Emerald’s parents, Barry and Deborah Emerald, are led out of the U.S. District Court in Fresno by Federal Defender Janet Bateman, who is representing Emerald. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Tuolumne County resident Keith Emerald pleaded not guilty in federal court in Fresno on Tuesday to accidentally starting the Rim Fire, the largest wildfire in the Sierra Nevada’s recorded history which burned 402 square miles of national forest and park lands last year.

Emerald was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday for violating a forest order banning campfires, then letting that campfire escape and lying to investigators about it.

He turned himself over to U.S. Marshalls Tuesday. He had remained out of custody but in contact with law enforcement since immediately after the fire.

He was deemed to be the only person in the Clavey River drainage near Jawbone Ridge on Aug. 17, the day the fire started in a remote river canyon east of Groveland, according to court documents from prosecutors. 

Magistrate Judge Gary Austin ordered Emerald to remain in custody until paperwork is completed to put his and his mother’s property on bond for his release. Emerald’s property in Montana and his mother’s property would be used as collateral.

The property value was to be no less than $60,000, which Emerald’s property couldn’t cover alone, Austin said. 

Weighing on the decision was Emerald’s record. He has been arrested at least 11 times. He has several arrests for DUI and drugs and an assault conviction. He was also arrested in Yosemite National Park for allegedly lying to law enforcement while being arrested for drug possession. 

“It was repeat offense after repeat offense after repeat offense,” Austin said, adding he had some failures to appear in court, resulting in bench warrants.

 

For the complete story, see the Aug. 13 edition of The Union Democrat.   


Follow UnionDemocrat.com

News
Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Opinion
Editorials / Letters
Photos
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Classifieds
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2014 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

Mon, 22 Dec 2014 17:00:59 -0800