O.C. Event Promoter Set Fire, Authorities Say

Times Staff Writer

A Laguna Beach promoter who staged a New Year's Eve celebration at the Orange County Fairgrounds is free on $1-million bail after being accused of trying to burn down a former girlfriend's apartment.

Richard Eugene Goodwin, 36, was arrested early in December after setting a small fire outside the front door of a Laguna Niguel apartment where his former girlfriend lived, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Neighbors apparently doused the fire and nobody was injured, authorities said.

A judge agreed to set a high bail because "Goodwin presented a danger to the community" by stalking the woman and setting a fire that put all the residents at the apartment complex at risk, said Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve Mitchell.

According to a statement from the district attorney's office, the unidentified 21-year-old woman had ended a relationship with Goodwin last year.

His attempts at reconciliation allegedly turned to harassment in August, prosecutors said. "He was incessantly stalking this person," Mitchell said.

Goodwin declined to comment Monday. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 3 at South Justice Center in Laguna Niguel.

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