Arson Suspect Unfit to Stand Trial

Arson Suspect Unfit to Stand Trial

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A homeless Salt Lake City man accused of starting a wildfire in Farmington Canyon has been found unfit to stand trial.

According to court documents, doctors at a California medical facility determined that Josef Heinz Bruhl, 33, suffers from a mental disorder that renders him incompetent to understand the charges against him and to assist in his own defense.

Relatives have said that Bruhl suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Bruhl is charged with one count of malicious destruction of U.S. property by fire and one count of timber set afire.

He was accused of starting the July 10 blaze that burned over 1,936 acres and cost $1.5 million.

U.S. District Judge David Winder signed an order Wednesday requiring Bruhl to be housed in a medical facility and receive treatment for up to four months.

At that time, he will again be evaluated to see if his mental competency has restored to a point that will allow the prosecution to go forward.

A police deposition said Bruhl told officers that he "started the fire because he wanted to go to prison so that he would have a place to live. Bruhl indicated to law enforcement that he was mad at society because he was unemployed, homeless and had been kicked out of the Army."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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