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Suspect Jailed in 1984 Fire at State Capitol

From a Times Staff Writer

A suspect in the October, 1984, firebombing of the state Capitol was arrested Friday in San Francisco, five months after investigators received an anonymous tip implicating him, authorities said.

Richard Mumaw, 45, is being held at the Sacramento County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, said Dave Walizer, an arson investigator in the state fire marshal’s office.

A “Molotov cocktail-type device” was thrown through a window of the historic governor’s office in the rotunda portion of the restored Capitol, resulting in about $50,000 in damage, Walizer said.

Water Damage to Furniture

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“The fire damage was not that great, but the sprinkler system caused water damage to restored furniture,” he added.

The damaged office is not the one used by the governor. Business is now transacted in a new office in the modern wing of the Capitol, about 50 yards away.

Investigators first interviewed Mumaw in late March or April, Walizer said, “but he was very uncooperative at that time.” The anonymous informant “came forward and identified himself within the past week,” providing details that enabled authorities to make the arrest, Walizer said.

Mumaw is unemployed and lives in a San Francisco hotel, Walizer said, adding that the suspect was convicted of arson in a San Francisco incident that occurred after the Capitol blaze, for which he served nine months in San Francisco County Jail. Mumaw is also suspected in a fire at the Capitol Park Hotel in Sacramento. He was charged in that incident Friday.

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