Hacienda Heights church arson suspect ordered to stand trial

POMONA – A judge Thursday ruled there is sufficient evidence to order a parolee accused of torching the sanctuary of a Hacienda Heights church sanctuary to stand trial for the alleged crime.
After listening to a summary of the evidence during a three-day preliminary hearing, Pomona Superior Court Judge Robert Martinez ordered Gregory Yusuke Shiga, 35, of Hacienda Heights, back to to court for a hearing on May 2, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
He’s accused of setting an April 16, 2011, fire that destroyed the sanctuary of St. John Vianney Catohlic Church, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road. Several other church-owned buildings were also destroyed in the blaze, which caused an estimated $6.5 million worth of damage.
A motive in the alleged arson has not been released. No one was hurt in the fire, though several church personnel who present on the church campus at the time.
Shiga is to be tried on all four charges with which he has been charged, which include aggravated arson, arson of a structure, possession of flammable material and second-degree burglary, officials said.
If convicted as charged, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in state prison.

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