An employment-law attorney accused of setting his Laguna Hills home ablaze when deputies responded to a neighbor dispute call appeared in court Wednesday on a pending drunken driving case and was ordered to return on June 30, when he will be arraigned on arson and other felony charges.
Richard Edward Quintilone II, 47, is facing one count each of arson of a dwelling, arson of property and vandalism stemming from the March 31 blaze at his home.
He is free after posting $1.7 million bail.
Deputies were called at 10:30 a.m. the last day of March to 27716 Greenfield Drive regarding a dispute, said Jaimee Blashaw, public affairs manager for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s officials said Quintilone had been accused of throwing a boat propeller through the windshield of a vehicle in the neighborhood. When deputies tried to talk to him, he ran back into the house, and deputies spotted flames.
Quintilone refused to come out, prompting deputies to go into the house in an unsuccessful effort to find him and to evacuate neighbors from their homes due to the fire.
Orange County Fire Authority firefighters went into a “defensive posture,” having to pour water on the flaming house from a distance while deputies suspected Quintilone was barricaded inside, said Gail Krause, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.
Firefighters managed to put the fire out and keep it from spreading, but it caused significant damage to the house.
Neighbors alerted deputies to the suspect’s whereabouts on a nearby street about 12:20 p.m. and he was arrested without incident, Krause said.
Court records show Quintilone was convicted of domestic violence in January 2006, but the misdemeanor charge was eventually dismissed in 2009 as part of a state law that allows for the expunging of convictions if a defendant clears probation.
According to the State Bar, which placed the attorney on probation in 2007, on May 14, 2005, Quintilone and his wife “returned to their home after having spent the evening at a party with friends. Both (Quintilone) and his wife had been drinking at the party. Thereafter, (Quintilone), in his inebriated state, physically assaulted his wife.”
The attorney claimed that “the violence started as a result of sexual foreplay, which was rougher than usual and then grew out of control,” according to the State Bar. “Ultimately, (Quintilone’s) wife ran to a neighbor’s house and the police were called.”