Trial date set for Grace Cathedral arson suspect

A man once accused of attempting to set fire to the historic Grace Cathedral will stand trial in San Francisco Superior Court in March on felony charges of possessing explosives and incendiary devices.

Paul Addis, 35, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in superior court today to those two felonies and to a misdemeanor count of destroying markings required for an imitation firearm or device. A trial date was scheduled for March 14.

On Oct. 28, Addis was found on the California Street side of the cathedral around 11:40 p.m. with a backpack full of fireworks and other items that “led officers to believe he might be up to something,” police reported at the time.

Police were called to the area after Addis' neighbor reportedly heard him say, “The cathedral isn't going to be there anymore,” an officer said.

Addis had originally faced an additional felony charge of attempted arson, which was dismissed after his preliminary hearing Jan. 7. He could still face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the current charges.

Addis' attorney Tal Klement has called his client merely “eccentric,” and downplayed the charges.

Addis was earlier charged in Nevada for allegedly setting the Burning Man effigy on fire before itwas scheduled to be torched at the annual festival held each Labor Day weekend in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

Addis remains in custody in lieu of $425,000 bail, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.

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