With a trial set for Thursday of last week, 51 year old Ronald Watson of Onyx, California, the man accused of lighting a string of fires in Mammoth, reached a plea agreement with the Mono County District Attorneys Office.
In June of 2007, Watson is alleged to have made threats (that included telling people to prepare to die) at the Forest Service Visitor Center. Police report that they then followed a pattern of suspicious fires from the Visitor Center headed toward the Mammoth Trailer Park. There, Police report that they saw the suspect bashing in a cabin with a shovel. Police allegeded that Watson used gasoline to set fires.
Watson faced five counts of alleged arson on forest land, one count of attempted arson of a tent, and misdemeanor vandalism for damage to cabin at the RV Park. He was found competent to stand trial after a psychological evaluation in August.
Assistant District Attorney Kyle Graham reports that the multiple counts of arson were bundled together into two counts of arson, one for each side of highway 203 where the fires started leading to a plea of two counts of arson, the attempted arson of the tent and misdemeanor vandalism.
Watson has not yet been sentenced, but he does face significant prison time.