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Surprise Plea For Arson

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Sonora, CA — The man accused of setting fire to the Columbia House Restaurant was in Tuolumne County Superior court yesterday. For a second time, Daenon Vincent Brewer, 22 of Tuolumne, pled guilty to arson charges. According to Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney, Clint Parish, the guilty plea was entered by Brewer as the jury for the expected 3-day trial was being selected.

He will now face sentencing for the felony charge of arson with the enhancement for damages totaling nearly $1 million. The charge is punishable by at least four and up to eight years in prison. Parish says Brewer would not accept a plea deal for a six year prison sentence before trial. Parish says when Brewer submitted his guilty plea he asked for the six year deal. Neither Parish nor the judge agreed to limit the scope of punishment to a six year maximum.

The misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of opiates was dismissed by the District Attorney because he said it was a stratigic trial move at the time of trial when he did not know that Brewer would plead guilty and a witness wasn’t available.

In January, Brewer had accepted a plea deal for two years in prison if he pled guilty to the initial charge of arson with $250,000 in damages. However, that plea was disallowed by the court in February when the amount of damage caused by the fire led to the Tuolumne County District Attorney to request that the court reject the initial plea deal.