Judge Finds Teen Girl Guilty of Starting Cocos Fire

A 14-year-old girl was convicted Tuesday of starting last year’s devastating Cocos Fire by sparking a small fire in her backyard, reports NBC San Diego.

The judge found her guilty of four of the five counts against her, including the one linking her to the Cocos Fire, though the judge said she did not intend to harm anyone. 

The fire destroyed 36 homes and caused more than $10 million in damage last May. Outside the courtroom, one woman whose apartment burned in the Cocos Fire said she felt as if justice was served. 

“Like the judge says, there’s no winners in this,” said Mitzi McKinney. “It’s a sad situation, but I feel like justice was definitely served today. The evidence was overwhelming that she started the fire that burned all the homes down. I’m sad and happy at the same time.”

The prosecutor said it is too early to decide on any potential punishment for the girl. Restitution for victims is possible in the future and the parents of the girl could be responsible, though only to a limited dollar amount. The exact dollar value of any restitution, if any, is unclear.

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