A man accused of setting his own vehicle ablaze in San Mateo County in August pleaded no contest to a felony arson charge Monday in return for credit for time served if the court finds a favorable pre-sentencing report, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Joe David Sosa, 36, who is transient, was in front of his nephew’s residence in the 300 block of Pacific Avenue about 10:37 p.m. Aug. 29 when he poured gasoline over his clothing, which was inside his 1994 Chevy Blazer, Wagstaffe said. He then lit the clothes on fire, which also ignited the entire vehicle.
Sosa was reportedly under the influence of methamphetamine and told sheriff’s deputies that he thought he was being followed and that by setting his clothes and car on fire he “showed them.”
A neighbor’s truck was also scorched in the fire, Wagstaffe said. Sosa told his nephew that he intended to only burn his own car.
Sosa pleaded no contest Monday to one charge of felony arson and was released from custody on his own recognizance, Wagstaffe said. He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 10. If he receives a favorable pre-sentence report, he will be given credit for time served and remain out of custody.