Desert Hot Springs, CA
A man was charged with arson Thursday after allegedly trying to burn down a Desert Hot Springs apartment following a dispute with the landlord.
Steven Louis Armenta, 50, pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count each of arson and battery on a peace officer after police say he tried to set fire to the apartment Monday morning, then spat on a responding county firefighter.
After receiving a notice to vacate his unit, Armenta allegedly tried to set fire to his apartment in the 66300 block of 6th Street, but was unsuccessful, Desert Hot Springs Deputy Chief Jim Henson said. He then allegedly set fire to some plants outside the building, which did ignite and drew the attention of local police and fire officials.
Prior to the fire, he also allegedly confronted the landlord that day and argued with her while holding a pipe, Henson said. He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with that incident, but was not similarly charged by prosecutors.
Armenta has a prior felony conviction for resisting arrest, along with misdemeanor convictions for making criminal threats, court records show.
He was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail and will return to court July 17 for a felony settlement conference.