The trial for a Fountain Valley man accused of causing an explosion in a Santa Ana motel started Thursday, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.
Thanh Van Quang, 39, is charged with one count of arson of an inhabited property and one count of possession a flammable material. The defendant is facing his third strike and if convicted could be sentenced to 31 years to life in prison, according to the D.A.
Quang was convicted in 1998 for voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and two counts of robbery, according to the statement.
The alleged arson incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. Nov. 30, 2012, at the Pueblo Motel. Quang is accused of getting into an argument with the manager for inviting guests into his room. About an hour after their conversation, the defendant allegedly walked to a nearby gas station and purchased a gasoline canister and one gallon of gasoline.
Around 4 p.m. the same day, Quang is accused of causing an explosion inside his room, damaging his room and neighboring rooms. A surveillance camera captured the defendant removing items from his motel room before the explosion, according to the D.A.'s office.
—Anthony Clark Carpio