Suspect Found Competent to Face Arson Charges

51 year old Ronald Watson of Onyx, California, the man accused of lighting a string of fires in Mammoth Lakes in June, had to undergo psychological review before that case could continue. Those results are back, and Assistant District Attorney Kyle Graham reports that the court has found Mr. Watson competent to stand trial.

After allegedly making threats (that included telling people to prepare to die) at the Forest Service Visitor Center, Police report that they followed a pattern of suspicious fires from the Visitor Center headed toward the Mammoth Trailer Park. There, Police report that they saw the suspect bashing in a cabin with a shovel. Police also allege that Watson used gasoline to set fires.

Watson has been charged with five counts of alleged arson on forest land, one count of attempted arson of a tent, and misdemeanor vandalism for the cabin at the RV Park. Watson also has a previous strike against him for a felony assault conviction that would influence sentencing if he is found guilty.

Police say that Watson had been counseled by the Mono County Mental Health Department prior to this incident.

Watson remains in custody. Now that he has been found competent to stand trial, the case can continue. Watson is scheduled to be in court again next Tuesday.

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