A 23-year-old man charged with arson at a mosque in Coachella Valley pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Carl James Dial, a Palm Desert resident, entered the plea at his arraignment at the Larson Justice Center in Indio for the fire set at the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley.
The Riverside County district attorney's office charged Dial with arson of a structure and burglary, both felonies, as well as one misdemeanor count of committing a hate crime. The two felony counts each include allegations that the arson and burglary were committed as hate crimes.
If convicted as charged, Dial could face a maximum sentence of 11 years and four months, the district attorney's office said in a statement.
A fire was reported at the mosque shortly after noon on Dec. 11. Firefighters extinguished the flames, which were contained to the foyer of the mosque. Dial was arrested that evening.
His bail remains set at $150,000. Dial is scheduled to appear at a felony settlement conference on Dec. 28.
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