No Prison for Most Destructive Fire in Fresno History

September 26, 2008 7:08:23 PM PDT
A Fresno judge handed down a surprising sentence on Friday for the most destructive fire in the city's history. Hell on Earth is how a Fresno judge described the massive University Village fire. 14 million dollars of damage, surrounding homes almost destroyed by the fire in May 2003. Friday in court, David Damore admitted again he started the fire and apologized to everyone involved. Judge Edward Sarkisian only authorized the media to photograph the sentencing. Damore asked Judge Sarkisian for mercy and so did the defendant's wife. His father Jim Damore rejoiced when the judge sentenced Damore to 8 years probation. Jim Damore told Action News, "He's a wonderful person. Very caring. This was a lapse in judgment at that time. We're just glad the way it turned out."

A jury convicted Damore in May 2008. He was facing 9 years in prison. That's why the judge's decision is disappointing to the prosecutor Mike Frye. Frye said, "I'm shocked. I think this was a case where there was incredible damage. Prison was appropriate. That's what I argued for."

The judge also decided Damore will serve a year in jail for causing the most destructive fire in Fresno history, and he's already served some of that sentence. After his time in jail, Damore returns home to his family, avoiding state prison. Jim Damore said, "I'm sure he's learned a very rough lesson. And I hope others learn from it too."

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