The only jailed suspect in the Malibu Corral fire, Brian David Franks, was released today on his own recognizance by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Leslie A. Dunn.
During a scheduled preliminary hearing today to determine whether Franks and two others charged in the fire would face trial, Deputy District Attorney Sam Dordulian said of Franks, “We do not feel he will pose a threat to the public at this time.”
The hearing for Franks, 27, Brian Alan Anderson, 22, and William Thomas Coppock, 23, was continued. The defendants will appear before Judge Dunn on March 3, at which time a new preliminary hearing date will be set.
Anderson, Coppock and the two others suspects charged in the fire, Culver City residents Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, and Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, are free on bail. Ullman and Lavorante are schedule to be arraigned Feb. 14.
Coppock’s attorney, Andrew Flier, said he was looking into the allegation that the fire was started during a state of emergency, which he says was not the case. This is significant because it is the only charge against the suspects requiring a state prison sentence.
The men have been charged with the felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury and recklessly causing a fire to an inhabited structure.
Nearly 5,000 acres were burned, and 86 structures were destroyed in the Nov. 24 fire.