Orangeville man pleads no contest to 2015 attempted murder of a child

Apr 6, 2016 7:59 PM by David McVicker

A 13-year state prison sentence was handed down Wednesday for an Orangeville man charged with arson and attempted murder of a 4-year-old child.

William James Brainard, 48, was previously found guilty of the arson in January, but the jury could not unanimously decide on guilt on the count of attempted murder. Facing a retrial, Brainard later entered a plea of no contest to that count, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said in a statement.

At around 3 a.m. Feb. 18, 2015, a fire broke out at a residence on Losse Way in Chico. Investigators found what they described as “an incendiary device” outside of a sleeping four-year-old child’s bedroom window.

The device consisted of filled gasoline and acetone cans with a roadway flare used as a fuse, investigators wrote in a report. No one was injured by the fire.

Investigators testified that attempt on the child’s life was the result a child custody battle between the child’s mother and father. Brainard was allegedly angry with the mother who recently ended a relationship with him. Ramsey said Brainard became a suspect when evidence showed he had knowledge of the child custody issues and was seeking revenge against the mother.

Ramsey said Brainard’s 13-year sentence starts immediately. According to his plea agreement, Brainard must serve at least 85 percent of his total sentence.


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