Teen accused in Tacoma fire is competent for trial

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TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A Pierce County Superior Court judge had decided a 16-year-old boy accused of setting fire to a 97-year-old pagoda in a Tacoma park is mentally competent to stand trial.

Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck entered that order Wednesday and scheduled trial for Sept. 7.

The News Tribune (http://bit.ly/q5Tff5) reports that not guilty pleas were entered on the boy's behalf to charges including first-degree arson, second-degree burglary and second-degree malicious mischief.

The boy was evaluated by a state expert and one hired by his defense.

Prosecutors contend he set fire to the pagoda in Point Defiance Park late on April 14 or early April 15. Flames heavily damaged the structure, the centerpiece of the park's Japanese garden and the setting for many special events.

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com