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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Greg Shiga Charged in St. John Vianney Catholic Church Arson in Hacienda Heights

WEST COVINA – An alleged arsonist accused of torching St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights, causing damages in excess of $6.5 million, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon, the District Attorney’s Office announced. Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose of the Target Crimes Division, Arson Section, said Gregory Yusuke Shiga, 34 (dob 3/01/78), of Hacienda Heights is charged with one count each of aggravated arson, arson of a structure or forest, possession of flammable material and second-degree commercial burglary. Shiga is expected to be arraigned after 1:30 pm in Department 4 of Citrus Superior Court in West Covina. His bail is recommended at $1 million. The criminal complaint alleges that the fire caused property damage and other losses in excess of $6.5 million. The charging document also includes special allegations that the defendant proximately caused multiple structures to burn and that the arson was caused by use of a devise designed to accelerate the fire or delay ignition. Shiga allegedly broke into the church’s sanctuary just after midnight on April 16, 2011. The fire caused extensive damage to the church and to surrounding buildings. No one was hurt. Shiga was arrested on May 14 in Los Angeles following a year-long investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI. The defendant faces a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in state prison.
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