Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Diaz arrested in Castro arson case

David Diaz in his 2011 booking photo. Photo: San Francisco Police Department

David Diaz in his 2011 booking photo. Photo: San Francisco Police Department

A San Francisco man who jurors convicted of involuntary manslaughter and arson this last summer has been arrested in connection with at least one of the recent arson fires in the Castro district, KQED reported this morning (Thursday, January 22).

David Diaz, 25, who’d already served more than three years for the 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, had been out of custody since September. Diaz admitted to choking Canul-Arguello to death but insisted it was an accident that happened during a sexual encounter in Buena Vista Park.

Diaz is in custody in county jail. When the Bay Area Reporter tried to visit Diaz Thursday afternoon, a sheriff’s department staffer said that Diaz is “refusing to speak to the media.”

According to superior court records, Diaz is being held on felony charges of arson of an inhabited structure, possession of an incendiary device, and first-degree burglary.

Van Ly, chief of staff for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, said that Diaz’s total bail is $650,000. Records indicate his arraignment will be Friday, January 23, but that’s not definite.

Besides involuntary manslaughter and arson, jurors in August also found Diaz guilty of mutilating human remains and destroying evidence. They acquitted him on a murder charge.

At Diaz’s sentencing in November, Deputy Public Defender Alex Lilien requested that Superior Court Donald Sullivan Judge dismiss all counts but the involuntary manslaughter.

Sullivan dismissed only the arson count, after considering that keeping it would require Diaz’s “lifetime registration as an arsonist,” which would “mar his character.” He acknowledged Diaz’s youth, that he had no prior criminal history, and indicated he agreed with Lilien that “the likelihood of [Diaz] committing such crimes in the future” is “extremely unlikely.”

According to a motion Lilien’s filed, Diaz isn’t a U.S. citizen but a legal permanent resident. His father and other family live in the country. Lilien said in court he was concerned about “potentially grave collateral consequences” for Diaz if only the arson count was dismissed. Diaz is originally from Mexico, as was Canul-Arguello.

Diaz has been the partner of Larry Metzger, an owner of the Mix bar in the Castro. A friend of Metzger’s has said that Metzger’s car was one of the cars burned in an apparent arson late last year. It’s not clear whether authorities have any information connecting Diaz to those incidents. Metzger couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story as it develops.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 22, 2015 @ 11:59 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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