BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Police say a 20-year-old man deliberately set a fire at condominiums in Adams County last month, and now prosecutors are outlining the evidence as they seek attempted murder charges.
The fire destroyed at least 12 condos and damaged others at Corona Village Condominiums located at 88th Avenue and Corona Street. Now Martin Espinoza, 20, faces 55 charges, including attempted murder and arson.
Much of Monday’s preliminary hearing centered around witness statements made to Detective Casey Overton of the Adams County Sherriff’s Office. The prosecution used the witness statements to try to verify some of the facts of their case while the defense tried to poke holes in those witness statements.
The prosecution went through statements from witnesses that claim they saw Espinoza near the condo complex before and after the fire. According to the prosecution, witnesses say Espinoza reeked of smoke and lighter fluid, and that they have video surveillance that showed him at a nearby Walmart using a courtesy phone. Apparently the phone also smelled of lighter fluid after he used it and had to be wiped down.
The defense, however, went through witness statement by witness statement outlining how many people did not see Espinoza near the site of the fire. They also argued that Espinoza, like many others in the crowd, including Overton, smelled of smoke because they were standing outside of the burning building.
Espinoza’s mother lived in the same apartment complex but was not home at the time of the fire. The prosecution says Espinoza’s mother kicked him out of her home several weeks before the fire.
At the end of the hearing Espinoza was bound over on all charges. There was a motion to reduce bond, which was refused due to the magnitude and circumstances of case. Bond is still at $100,000 but he remains in custody.
None of Espinoza’s family members were in court on Monday. His next court appearance is schedule for May 19.
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