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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Serial Arsonist Charged With 13 Counts of Arson

Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach announced this morning at a news conference that accused serial arsonist Steven Taylor Rutherford has been charged with 13 counts of arson.  District Attorney Zellerbach was accompanied on the podium by San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, CAL FIRE South Region Chief Dale Hutchinson, Riverside County Fire/CAL FIRE Riverside Unit Chief John Hawkins and prosecuting attorney Amy Zeta.

L to R Prosecuting Attorney Amy Zeta, Chief John Hawkins, S.B. Co. D.A. Mike Ramos, Riverside Co. D.A. Paul Zellerbach and Region Chief Dale Hutchinson

Riverside Co. D.A,. Paul Zellerbach and S.B. Co. D.A. Mike Ramos talk with Prosecuting Attorney Amy Zeta
CAL FIRE South Area Region Chief Dale Hutchinson and CAL FIRE/Riverside CO. Fire Chief John Hawkins talk with Riverside Co. D.A. Paul Zellerbach
The 13 counts include igniting the Mill Fire that burned from Highway 38 in the City of Redlands across the hills into the City of Yucaipa.  One home sustained moderate damage to its interior.  Other charges include fires set between September 6, 2011 and June 28, 2013 (Mill Fire).  The locations of the fires were primarily in the Banning Pass area. 
Map of locations where accused arsonist Steven Rutherford set fires
Riverside District Attorney Paul Zallerbach said that most crimes are targeted crimes.  However, "arson is an indescriminate crime and the arsonist knows that."  Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins told the news media that "we are all partners"  in investigating and prosecuting arsonists.  CAL FIRE South Region Chief Dale Hutchinson said arson fires can be very damaging "arsonists put everyone at risk." He continued saying that CAL FIRE works deligently to investigate and prosecute arson and negligent caused fires.  San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said " arsonists are cowards. They lite and run."

Accused serial arsonist Steven Taylor Rutherford
Rutherford who is a repeat offender was expected to be arraigned this afternoon.  If convicted, he could face more than 80 years in state prison. Riverside D. A. Zellerbach added this in his comments, "We here in the Inland Empire have unfortunately learned firsthand what serious and continual threats arsonists pose to our communities.  The dangers serial arsonists like this can bring include significant loss of land, homes and even life."