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California

Man pleads guilty to starting Cranston fire and is sentenced to more than 12 years in prison

LAKE HEMET, CA - JULY 27, 2018: An air tanker drops fire retardant as the air assault on the Cranst
An air tanker drops fire retardant in the Lake Hemet area near where the Cranston fire burned in this July 27, 2018 photo.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

A Temecula man was sentenced to 12 years and four months in state prison this week for intentionally starting the Cranston fire, which chewed through thousands of acres and destroyed homes near Idyllwild last summer.

Brandon McGlover, 33, pleaded guilty on Thursday to two felony counts of burning a structure or forest land. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen immediately sentenced him to the maximum prison sentence for the two charges and ordered him to pay restitution to the victims of the fire.

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Brandon McGlover was sentenced this week to 12 years and four months in state prison.
(Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

Prosecutors originally charged McGlover with 15 felony counts based on allegations that he had started eight other fires two days before he ignited the Cranston blaze. Those charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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However, prosecutors dropped several charges against him after his November preliminary hearing where authorities outlined evidence in the criminal case before a judge.

“The original charges filed against McGlover required proving to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he had a specific intent to burn structures, which the evidence in the case does not support,” the Riverside County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

The D.S.’s office this week dropped the seven remaining felony counts against McGlover as part of a plea deal in the case.

The Cranston fire began on July 25, 2018, and consumed more than 13,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest area near Idyllwild. The blaze destroyed at least five homes and forced 7,000 people to evacuate.

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hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @Hannahnfry


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