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Portola arsonist convicted

Feather Publishing
10/19/2011

The man charged with burning down the historic Western Pacific Hospital in Portola last month was convicted of felony arson Oct. 7.

According to Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister, Harold Ellis Johnson, 18, of Portola, will be sentenced Nov. 18 for the crime.

Johnson is expected to be placed on formal probation for up to five years. He could serve up to 12 months in jail.

Hollister said Johnson would likely be ordered to pay restitution and register as an arson offender.

Johnson set fire to the 100-year-old hospital Sept. 7. The blaze completely destroyed the building. The following night, Johnson started a fire near the Feather River Middle School in Portola.

The convictions count as a serious felony, or “strike,” under California law.

Hollister praised members of the community for helping to bring Johnson to justice.

“The district attorney’s office wishes to thank CalFire Officer John Berglund, Detective Jeremy Beatley, Sgt. Steve Peay and deputies Kris Frazier and Andrea Murana for their efforts in solving these potentially dangerous acts of arson,” Hollister said.

In addition to this case, the district attorney’s office reported the successful prosecution of several cases in the past month.

Following is a sampling of some of those cases.

 


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