Mountain View Voice

News - May 9, 2014

Felony arson charge for teen in party house fire

by Kevin Forestieri

A 16-year-old Mountain View teen was charged with felony arson as an adult last Friday 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 May 2 and is in juvenile hall on $100,000 bail, according to the prosecutor, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Bret Wasley. Wasley said Dispoto was charged as an adult based on the seriousness of the crime, and allegations that Dispoto had 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.

Alan Lagod, Dispoto's defense attorney, did not respond to numerous calls requesting comment.

The investigation report said 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 be back in court on May 22, where Wasley said he expects him to plead no contest to the felony arson charges.

Dispoto is one of the many teens under investigation over the house parties leading up to the arson fire. Police arrested 18 people — including 16 juveniles — on charges ranging from drug possession and sales to vehicle theft, burglary and arson.

Wasley said he has yet to file charges against Brandon Pak and Gilbert Gomes, the two adults arrested in connection to the house party and fire. He said he will review the evidence and meet with the Mountain View Police Department regarding Pak and Gomes, but does not have a time line for what comes next.

Charges also have not been filed for the theft of the Audi A4 that was stolen from the driveway and later recovered in San Francisco.

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