Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Arsonist Diaz arrested, caught on video lighting homeless person on fire

by Cynthia Laird

David Munoz Diaz, the San Francisco resident who was convicted in previous high-profile arson cases, was arrested last week after he was allegedly captured on video lighting a homeless person on fire.

David Munoz Diaz. Photo: Courtesy SFPD

David Munoz Diaz. Photo: Courtesy SFPD

He’s been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and arson-related charges, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.

Court documents stated that the victim’s sleeve caught fire and his arm was burned. It is not known how severe the victim’s injuries were; sources told the Bay Area Reporter that the person refused medical aid.

Passersby woke up the victim and helped extinguish the fire, the documents said. It is not known where or when the alleged incident occurred.

Because Diaz is a registered arsonist, the DA’s office has filed a motion to detain him without bail. A judge will hear that request next week. Prosecutors are also seeking to revoke Diaz’s felony probation, which stemmed from earlier convictions.

Diaz, 28, who’s been in San Francisco County Jail since his March 8 arrest, appeared in court Tuesday but his arraignment was continued to next week.

Last year, Diaz was sentenced to five years probation after a November 2016 incident in which police said Diaz handcuffed and bit a chuck out of another man’s scalp while impersonating a cop. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in exchange for assault and other counts in the case being dismissed.

Diaz was ordered to comply with a midnight curfew and wear an ankle monitor.

In 2014, Diaz stood trial for the June 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, in Buena Vista Park. During the trial, Diaz testified that Canul-Arguello had asked to be choked during a sexual encounter and that he’d accidentally killed him.

Jurors acquitted Diaz of second-degree murder but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges. He was released from jail in September 2014.

In 2015, Diaz was arrested again for allegedly starting fires in the Castro district. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to possessing an incendiary device and a count of second-degree burglary. He was released that September after being sentenced to a year of mandatory supervision and being ordered to register as an arsonist for life, among other terms.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in Thursday’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, March 13, 2018 @ 6:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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