Craig Fiegener

Conflicting Mental Health Reports on Holy Fire Suspect, Back in Court Next Month

October 10, 2018 - 2:29 pm

(KNX 1070) - The criminal case against the man accused of starting the massive Holy Fire, back in August, remains on hold.

He was in court today with questions remaining about his sanity.

On Wednesday, Forrest Clark was silent unlike the bizarre outbursts in August during two previous attempts at arraignment.

Before the judge Wednesday there were two different evaluations, but the reports reached different conclusions. 

Clark's public defender asked for a third evaluation to break the tie between now and November 28. 

From all three reports, the judge will decide if Clark is competent to stand trial.  

Clark returns to court Nov. 28.

He was back in court Wednesday. The man underwent a mental health evaluation, and the court will review the findings. Criminal proceedings have been stalled because of questions about his mental capacity.

Since being detained, the suspect has been disruptive and erratic.

He's currently facing several charges for arson and resisting arrest.

In August,  the man accused of starting the Holy Fire was back in court in Santa Ana. Clark, the suspect charged with arson in Holy Fire, made several unusual statements to the judge, and declared himself “innocent.”

Judge Menninger put hearing in recess after Clark said he hadn’t yet read the charging document against him. He suspended criminal proceeding against Clark, who will be held without bail. 

He was in court for arraignment — but alarmed the judge with illogical rambling.

Clark is facing an array of charges, including aggravated arson.  He owned a cabin in Holy Jim Canyon. He's accused of sending an email saying "this place will burn down." Prosecutors say the fire was then set after that.

The "Holy Fire" was reported near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads in Orange County.

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