College professor accused of setting wildfires indicted by federal grand jury

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A college professor accused of setting several fires in Northern California was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on five counts, including arson to federal property.

Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose was arrested on Aug. 7 on suspicion of setting seven fires between July 6 and Aug. 7, including the Cascade, Everitt, Conard and Ranch fires. Maynard is accused of starting the fires near the Lassen and Shasta-Trinity national forests.

Three of the fires were not far from where the massive Dixie Fire burned between July 13 and Oct. 30.

A sworn affidavit from U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Tyler Bolen says that after weeks of Maynard being spotted near where fires were starting, along with tracks near the ignition spots that seemed to match the tire tread on his 2012 Kia Soul, a tracker was put on Maynard’s car on Aug. 1.

Bolen goes on to say that when Maynard was stopped and questioned six days later, he lied about where he’d been and became irate and threatening once arrested.

Maynard taught at Santa Clara and Sonoma State universities.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of arson.

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