Pony-tailed then 24-year-old Harry Burkhart arrested in 2012 for his arson spree in Los Angeles
Carney said, Burkhart placed incendiary devices under cars in Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley and West Hollywood on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 2011, and on Jan. 2 during the following year. The sheer number of fires “brought the fire department in this city to its knees,” Carney said.
Burkhart who was born in Chechnya could face 80 years in state prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity.
A prosecutor told jurors, Monday that Burkhart “ was angry with America because his mother had been arrested and was in custody of the United States, being held for extradition to Germany,” DDA Sean Carney said. An enraged Harry Burkhart then went on an arson rampage, setting dozens of fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley because he “wanted America to burn.”
During his ‘reign of terror’, Harry Burkhart placed incendiary devices under cars in Hollywood
His mother Dorothee, who was born in Russia, was facing extradition to Germany to face criminal charges. Ms Burkhart who allegedly owned an erotic massage business, had been linked to websites offering the services of ‘Goddess Annabelle’ in the Hollywood area. The sites described their owner as a ‘sexologist’, but emphasised that her massages were not to be confused with prostitution. The potential deportation of Ms Burkhart, who it was said did not to have a valid visa, might have been be connected to her son Harry’s alleged rampage through Los Angeles. Harry became agitated during her hearing.
Dorothee lashed out numerous times in federal court, accusing Americans of “letting the Nazis get her and her boy.” Burkhart became enraged during his mother’s deportation hearing “He announced to everyone there, ‘f*** America,’ ” and was kicked out of the courtroom.
Video footage showed Burkhart returning again and again to a Ralphs supermarket to “reload” his “arson kit” of fires starters, matches and other materials. A reserve sheriff’s deputy, who saw his minivan, arrested the defendant Jan. 2, 2012.
Burkhart was tripped by cctv footage
Deputy Public Defender Steve Schoenfield said prosecutors can tie the suspect to only six or seven fires and said a sanity phase is almost a certainty.
While he was awaiting trial, Burkhart was diagnosed with skin cancer and and was close to death, he is in remission, but uses a wheelchair.
Harry Burkhart was was indicted on 25 counts of arson of property, 19 counts of arson of an inhabited dwelling, two counts each of possession of an incendiary device and attempted arson and one count of arson of a structure.Burkhart entered two pleas: not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
The defense attorney said a sanity phase of the trial is almost a certainty, implying that his client would likely be found guilty on some counts.