3 female arsonists sentenced to 180 days in jail

UPDATE: Three college students were sentenced to jail and probation Wednesday, for attempting to burn a Chico State police car.

Posted: Jul 8, 2020 4:25 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2020 8:18 AM

UPDATE: 4:33 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 - Three college students were sentenced to jail and probation Wednesday, for attempting to burn a Chico State police car.

District Attorney, Mike Ramsey, said Maria Magana, Clarissa Volasgis, and Autum Cossins used a Molotov cocktail. The DA said they admitted their guilt and plead no contest to felony arson last month.

Ramsey said the trio expressed remorse, will serve 180 days in jail, and three years probation. During that time, they won't be allowed to use drugs or alcohol, and must register as arsonists.

Drugs and alcohol were factors the night this occurred, according to Ramsey. 

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CHICO, Calif. - According to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, three Chico women admitted their guilt in court Wednesday morning for attempting to set a Chico State University police car on fire.

Ramsey says Maria Magana, 21, Clarissa Pauline Volasgis, 20, and Autum Nichole Cossins, 20 set a Chico State police car on fire with a molotov cocktail. All three students plead no contest in the Butte County Superior Court to one count of felony attempted arson.

Ramsey says the incident took place in the early morning on May 31 when the three defendants decided to "send a message" about police brutality by burning a police car.  

The trio also set a series of bushes on fire outside of the parking structure on the other side of the police station about 2:30 a.m. before fleeing the scene. A police dispatcher viewing surveillance cameras from inside the station saw Volasgis set herself on fire briefly and then throw part of the incendiary device onto the Chico State police car.

Luckily, the fire went out as a responding University Police Sergeant arrived at the location and chased Volasgis and Magana on foot, but then they jumped into a Ford SUV and left the area at a high rate of speed. The sergeant says the rear license plate was covered. 

Later that morning, the students were spotted by surveillance cameras at a nearby gas station filling cups and a liquor bottle with gasoline. With assistance from the local FBI and University Police Officers, the surveillance footage of the car and license plate were found. and all three women were eventually identified and arrested. 

Volasgis and Magana were booked into the Butte County Jail on June 1, and Cossins was booked the following day. 

All three defendants are due in court on Aug. 5, 2020, for sentencing, Ramsey said. All three remain in custody with no bail. They each face a maximum term of 3 years in state prison.

Additionally, Magana, who is a Chico State student, will be under a conduct review by the university.

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Lightning-caused fires will be a concern over the next few days as thunderstorms are in the forecast. We stay warm to begin next week but cool into the 70s by Wednesday.
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