Trial was delayed Wednesday for a man accused of trying to kill two people by setting fire to homes at a Desert Hot Springs mobile home park in 2016.
Michael Eric McPeters, 45, is charged with two counts of attempted murder, three counts of arson of an inhabited property and one count each of arson of an uninhabited property, arson of a structure or forest land and making criminal threats.
McPeters also faces sentence-enhancing allegations of causing multiple structures to burn and committing arson while the state’s emergency drought regulations were in effect.
His trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, but was delayed at least until Sept. 30. Riverside County District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall said prosecutors are ready to proceed, attributing the postponement to the defense attorney’s schedule and other pending trials.
The criminal complaint accuses McPeters of targeting and threatening the lives of a man and a woman, as well as setting fire to several structures late on the afternoon of June 3, 2016, at Palm Drive Mobile Estates at 15687 Palm Drive, causing an estimated $40,000 in damage. Flames spread by strong winds prompted residents living downwind of the fire to evacuate.
More than 30 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, one of whom was evaluated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Jody Hagemann of the Riverside County Fire Department said at the time.
Crews contained the fire a little more than an hour later, but remained on scene for several hours, she said.
McPeters was arrested late that night by Cal Fire investigators, and has remained in custody in lieu of $1 million bail ever since. He’s currently being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
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