Farmington Wildfire Suspect Makes Court Appearance

Farmington Wildfire Suspect Makes Court Appearance


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Jill Atwood reportingA transient accused of setting a huge wildfire in the hills and canyons above Farmington, so he could go to prison, appeared in court Tuesday morning.

Joseph Bruhl may get his wish. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a 250 thousand dollar fine. He was pretty outspoken today, shouting out in the courtroom, "Let's just get this over with and put me away."

The judge told Bruhl to be careful with his words because they could be held against him.

He is accused of starting a huge wildfire in the foothills above Farmington a couple weeks ago. Flames came dangerously close to a lot of very nice homes, and hundreds had to be evacuated. Bruhl came forward a short time later and told investigators he was to blame for the fire. He says he started the fire on purpose to go to prison.

Bruhl told investigators he was tired of living on the streets, and was mad at the world.

Today his attorney Randy Ludlow didn't have much to say, but he did say this case is a little more complex than Bruhl just pleading guilty, and being sent to prison.

Randy Ludlow/Bruhl's Attorney: "You have certain constitutional guarantees and one of them is to make sure you're competent any time you enter a plea. I'm not sure he's competent to enter a plea. So we'll have to have that addressed."

A grand jury should hear the case tomorrow. If an indictment is handed down, Brulh will be in court again on Thursday. Right now he remains in custody.

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