Teen found responsible for the Porterville library fire learns punishment

Elisa Navarro Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
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The teen was sentenced to a short-term program of up to six months in juvenile hall, counseling, and 100 hours of volunteer work.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Wednesday, the juvenile court in Tulare County held a disposition hearing for the teen found responsible for setting the deadly Porterville Library fire.

The fire in February of 2020 killed two Porterville firefighters, Patrick Jones and Captain Raymond Figueroa.

The teen was sentenced to a short-term program of up to six months in juvenile hall, counseling, and 100 hours of volunteer work. He'll then be released to his family but will remain on probation.

He was also ordered to write an essay explaining why he did what he did and apology letters to both of the victims' families. The judge said he wants the teen to think about the suffering the parents are going through and realize what his actions caused.

Before the punishment was announced, the teen stood up with tears in his eyes and looked at the victims' parents and apologized.

"I am really sorry for what has happened," the teen said. "I never meant to hurt anyone. I really am sorry from the bottom of my heart."

Prosecutors said there is no explanation for the lighting of the fire, calling it an impulsive act that needs to be addressed.

They argued the minor shouldn't be sent home, saying that it won't change anything and that he should be in a custodial program instead.

But the judge said the teen's lack of past issues before the fire makes him believe the parents have control and care.

The defense attorney addressed the victims' families directly, saying "I know you're angry, but no punishment is going to bring your sons back, and your sons are heroes."

Back in August, the judge in the case determined the teen committed two counts of arson. The petitions for murder were dismissed, along with the arson charge for the other teen arrested for the fire.

The teen's punishment also includes a number of other conditions, including following a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew once he's released, and he cannot be in possession of lighters or matches.