Colby Fire Suspects Make Initial Appearance In Federal Court, Remain Jailed

LOS ANGELES ( — The three suspects accused of sparking the nearly 2,000-acre Colby Fire in San Gabriel Mountain foothills will remain jailed following their first appearance in a federal court Wednesday.

Jonathan Jarrell, 24, of Irwindale, 22-year-old Clifford Henry Jr., of Glendora, and 21-year-old transient Steven Aguirre were formally charged Tuesday in United States District Court, accused of  starting a campfire that spread rapidly across the Angeles National Forest on Jan. 16.


The defendants were arrested the same day on suspicion of recklessly starting a fire, and admitted to accidentally setting the blaze, according to a federal affidavit.

Making their first court appearance Wednesday, Jarrell, Henry Jr. and Aguirre appeared in street clothing, handcuffed and chained at the waist.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg ordered Aguirre detained pending trial for reasons of flight risk, having no permanent residence and possible substance abuse issues, reports City News Service.

Henry Jr. was also detained due to risk of flight, lack of a stable living situation, and having no bail resources.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Bettinelli said Henry Jr. had prior convictions in North Carolina and Los Angeles, including sexual battery, breaking and entering, and solicitation of lewd conduct.

The judge continued a detention/bail hearing for Jarrell until Friday morning and recommended that he receive a psychological exam while in federal custody.

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint that charges the three men with unlawfully setting timber afire, a felony offense that carries a possible five-year prison term.

At its peak, more than 1,100 firefighters and several aircraft were fighting the fire that destroyed five homes and damaged 17 others.

The fire was fully contained Wednesday afternoon.

Bettinelli, outside of court, said that additional charges could be filed.

The men face up to five years in prison if convicted as charged.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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