Sacto 9-1-1
March 8, 2013
Judge orders release of Placer arson suspect

A Placer County judge has ordered the release of the man accused of starting the 2012 Robbers Fire, the Placer County District Attorney's office confirmed today.

Bryon Mason, of Sacramento, was arrested shortly after the fire. Following a preliminary hearing, a judge on Tuesday ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold Mason for trial and ordered his release from custody.

The fire burned 2,650 acres northeast of Foresthill and destroyed one home and four outbuildings and a firefighter was injured. Another 170 residences were threatened and many families were forced to evacuate their homes.

Mason was charged with felony arson causing bodily injury and arson of an inhabited dwelling. A weeklong preliminary hearing on the facts of the case concluded Feb. 20.

The DA's office alleged that Mason "lit and threw an illegal commercial grade display-type firework" at a swimming hole along Shirttail Creek causing the forest fire.

"On March 5, 2013 the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold the defendant to stand trial on the two counts of arson," the DA Scott Owen's office said though a press release.

"The District Attorney's Office disagrees with the judge's ruling and remains committed to seeking justice for the victims of the Robbers Fire," Owen's office said.

An April 2 court date has been set to discuss further proceedings, the DA's office said.

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