Teens who set deadly Porterville fire won't face murder charges

The 2020 fire led to the deaths of two Porterville firefighters, Captain Raymond Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones.

Elisa Navarro Image
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Murder charges have been dismissed against two teenagers who set the deadly Porterville library fire, and one won't face any charges.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Murder charges have been dismissed against two teenagers who set the deadly Porterville library fire, and one won't face any charges.

The 2020 fire led to the deaths of two Porterville firefighters, Captain Raymond Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones.

RELATED: Porterville arson trial: Officers break down recalling last moments with slain firefighters

One of the teenagers will still face arson charges when he returns to court on September 20 for sentencing, but all charges against the other were dismissed by the judge.

On Monday, the fourth day of the trial of the teens, the District Attorney had to present his closing remarks unexpectedly when the judge made the ruling.

The judge said the critical evidence was the recording of what the boys said in the back of a patrol car while being taken into custody.

The teens talked about who lit the lighter and the flames they saw as they left the library.

One clearly set the fire, but also did not intend to harm anyone.

For the families of the firefighters, it was a difficult afternoon to close out a difficult couple of years, without the justice they were expecting.

They told Action News they're upset with the decision, but will have more to say Tuesday.

"It's been a long road to get here, we're extremely disappointed in what has occurred today. We disagree with the court's ruling. We wouldn't have brought this if we didn't think we had the evidence to support," said supervising district attorney John Sliney. "I'm so sorry that we dragged them (the families of the firefighters) through this for two and a half years and this is what happens."

Meanwhile, the defense attorney for the two boys, who were 13 at the time of the fire, agreed with the judge.

"We feel the court made a good decision as to the homicide charges. I disagreed with the court as to the arson," said Richard Alvarez.