16-year-old charged with felony arson in house party fire

A 16-year-old Mountain View teen is being charged as an adult with felony arson in connection with the fire that destroyed a home on Fordham Way in March. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Brett Dispoto was arraigned Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court and is being housed in juvenile hall on $100,000 bail, according to Deputy District Attorney Bret Wasley, the prosecutor for the case.

Wasley said Dispoto was charged as an adult based on the seriousness of the crime, and because Dispoto allegedly fled the scene and did not call for help after starting the fire.

"(Running) just adds to the dangerous situation," Wasley said. "We always take into account remorse or actions taken after the committed crime."

Wasley said the decision also took into account Dispoto's record.

"We can't disclose his juvenile record, but based on who he is and the seriousness of the crime, he is being charged as an adult," Wasley said.

The DA's investigation found that Dispoto had lit some blouses on fire in the master bedroom closet of the Fordham Way home on the morning of March 16, according to Wasley. The fire got out of control and spread to the rafters, resulting in a two-alarm fire that destroyed the home.

Dispoto is set to appear back in court on May 22, where Wasley said he expects the teen to plead no contest to the felony arson charges.

Dispoto's attorney, Alan Lagod, was not immediately available by phone to comment.

Dispoto is one of the many teens investigated in the aftermath of several illicit house parties leading up to the fire. Police arrested 18 people -- including 16 juveniles -- on charges ranging from drug possession and sales to vehicle theft, burglary and arson.


Posted by MVHS parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Can we PLEASE avoid any comments and speculation about kids we've never met, their parents, their schools, their neighbors, etc? How about if we all sit back and let justice be served?

Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm

So what high school did he attend? Was he a good student or a punk?

Posted by MVHS parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

What high school he attended is completely irrelevant to his partying weekend behavior. Has NOTHING to do with this.

Posted by A Citizen of the United States , a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm

So, a young kid who made a mistake can be charged as an adult, yet these kids can't do any other adult things like buy cigarettes, alcohol, or go to a strip club?? Yeah, that makes perfect sense..... What is this world, better yet, this "justice" system coming to.... What a shame... What a shame. The goal of the justice system and police is to "serve and protect", and I don't see any injuries or deaths involved in this situation. All materialistic things that can be REPLACED, yet people are treating it like someone lost their life. Come on now, open your eyes people. What a shame. This kid should not be charged as an adult, period.

Posted by A Citizen of the United States, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Oh, and lets not make assumptions or generalizations based on their school, where they live, or the type of parenting they received. Kids make mistakes, and everyone knows that.

Posted by l2zhang, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm

l2zhang is a registered user.

To "A Citizen of the United States",

I guess you do not live in the neighbourhood where the fire occurs. If you do, you would form a different opinion. Yes, luckily no one was at the fire scene to be injurred. But the house was trashed and totally distroyed and if the fire spread, the neighbour's houses will be burnt down as well. I think to be tried as an adult it is adequte for the crime that the kid committed.

Posted by PeaceLove, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

PeaceLove is a registered user.

Charging a 16-year-old as an adult for what seems to be a dumbass mistake makes sense if you ask why. The artist/journalist Molly Crabapple wrote recently about the court system, and who it serves: Web Link

Posted by l2zhang, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm

l2zhang is a registered user.

Sorry it is a stupid mistake. But who would set other people's property on fire????????????????????????????????? It is not a serious crime or what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If a kid is that unresponsible, should he not be punished? Not sure why there are people try to minimize the crime?????

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