Accused Bear Fire arsonist pleads not guilty

Accused Bear Fire arsonist pleads not guilty

BOULDER CREEK, Calif. - UPDATE: 10/31/2017 9:42 a.m. The Boulder Creek man accused of starting a fire which burned nearly 400 acres in the Santa Cruz mountains pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday. 

Authorities believe 54-year-old Marlon Coy started the Bear Fire on Monday October 16 after having a dispute with someone at a home on Dianes Way. 

Coy was originally arrested for looting the evacuated area of Hidden Springs Lane and stealing $15,000 worth of jewelry and a bike. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputies located Coy in Santa Cruz the day after the fire started and took him into custody. It was later believed that Coy was responsible for starting the Bear Fire. 

In court, Coy showed no remorse for allegedly starting the fire. After the District Attorney, Jeff Rosell listed the charges against the accused arsonist, Coy mouthed the words "You're next."

Rosell said, "lets be honest he lit a fire that caused an evacuation and burned 300 plus acres that's not something that happens everyday in this county. It's arson it's not an accident and the message should be that we are going to come after you if you do those sort of things in this county with all the resources that we have and we're going to do everything that we can to hold you accountable."

Coy faces multiple arson charges including arson causing great bodily injury, arson of an inhabited structure, arson to firefighters, first degree burglary, grand theft. His bail remained at $800,000. 

A preliminary hearing date has been set for December 1st. 

KION's Paul Dudley has the full story at 5 and 6 p.m. 


The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said they have arrested one person for intentionally starting the Bear Fire which burned through nearly 400 acres of land in the Santa Cruz mountains. 

"There were people that were with him that provided us with information in regards to him starting the fire," said Sgt. Chris Clark.

Three men told investigators they were with, 54-year-old Marlon Coy of Boulder Creek when he allegedly started the fire on Bear Creek Canyon Road and Deer Creek Road on October 16. Coy was initially arrested the day after the fire ignited for stealing $15,000 worth of items including jewlery and a bike from an evacuated home on Hidden Springs Ln.

Boulder Creek resident, Julia Cabibi wrote on Facebook that her house was one of the homes the Bear Fire destroyed. Cabibi said, "My house got burned down because some a**h*** was stealing my uncles cars and I found him's all fu**** up."

Coy denied starting the fire but the Sheriff's Office believe that he set it in response to a dispute with another person who had a connection with the property burned at 475 Diane's Way. Authorities said Cabibi had a relationship with Coy. Detectives said they've determined Cabibi is not a suspect in the investigation. 

The Bear Fire spread through the steep terrain and firefighters were able to reach 100 percent containment Thursday after 391 acres were burned. 150 people were forced to evacuate.  Two homes and four outbuildings were destroyed. Five RV's and 17 cars were also a loss to the Bear Fire. 

"Following many days of investigation and many interviews this morning detectives from the sheriffs office rearrested Marlon Coy for multiple counts of arson and for causing the bear fire," says Santa Cruz County Sheriff Investigations Commander Lt. Todd Liberty.

More than 1000 fire personnel responded to the vegetation fire which took more than ten days to contain. 13 firefighters were injured battling the vegetation fire. One firefighter sustained a fractured wrist. Another firefighter is still hospitalized after suffering second degree burns overnight. 72 deputies deployed over 7 days and 1000 hours of patrol activity. 

Five other people were arrested in the evacuated areas since the fire ignited that Monday night. Those five arrests occurred on October 19, after an alleged shooting near a pot farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

"We had some suspicions that this was the guy that started it, that property though has just been a bone in our side for the past couple of years with all of the activity going on. We were fearful of this kind of thing happening," said Thomas bird who lives near Bear Creek Canyon Road.

Since the containment of the fire all roads in the area are open. According to the most recent Cal Fire report, fire vehicles will continue to patrol the area. 

Coy faces multiple arson charges including arson causing great bodily injury, arson of an inhabited structure, arson to firefighters, first degree burglary, grand theft. His bail is set for $800,000. 

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office is taking over the investigation. 


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