A Palm Desert man who was previously sentenced in federal court to five years behind bars for firebombing the La Quinta office of a Republican organization is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in state court on similar charges.
Carlos Espriu, 24, pleaded guilty in October in Riverside County Superior Court to one count of arson of a non-dwelling and possessing destructive or explosive devices, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a device designed to accelerate the fire.
Espriu faces up to 13 years in state prison when he is sentenced Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center.
He remains jailed at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning without bail.
In federal court in March, Espriu pleaded guilty to a single federal count of attempted arson of a building, admitting he used a Molotov cocktail in an attempt to destroy the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta in May 2020.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson sentenced him to five years in prison and ordered him to pay $5,426 in restitution for damage caused by the firebombing.
During the early morning hours of May 31, 2020, Espriu broke the front windows of the EVRWF headquarters and tossed a lighted Molotov cocktail made of three bottles he had taped together, according to federal prosecutors.
Nobody was injured in the blaze. Arriving firefighters quickly extinguished the fire before it could cause extensive damage, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
EVRWF President Joy Miedecke said surveillance footage showed a man setting the fire after breaking the windows with a baseball bat. Tips generated from the organization’s reward offer apparently helped authorities identify Espriu.
According to federal prosecutors, Espriu posted on Twitter sometime before the arson attack: “I wanna go burn (stuff and) get hit with tear gas.”
The attack occurred as protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer brewed across the country.