Magalia arsonist sentenced to 16 years

Aug 13, 2015 7:35 PM by News Staff

A Magalia man who burned down a home he was staying in as a guest last November will serve 16 years in state prison.

Matthew Beard, 34, placed a kitchen rug and paper on top of a chair inside the home and ignited them because he was distressed at having been left alone, according to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.

Beard, who suffers from what was described as mild developmental delay, was arrested at the scene. He initially entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, but was found sane and competent to stand trial by doctors who examined him. He eventually pled no contest with admission to a prior strike.

Beard has previously been convicted of arson in Los Angeles County in 2002, assault with a deadly in Butte County in 2010 and has three convictions from 2010 for making bomb threats, some of which were made from inside the Butte County Jail where Beard was an inmate.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Beard, although somewhat sympathetic due to his condition, is nonetheless an extraordinarily dangerous individual and a serious threat to public safety and those around him, particularly in light of his past violent history.

Ramsey said the sentence imposed means Beard will be eligible for release after serving approximately thirteen and a half years.


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