Arson, hotel-standoff suspect found competent to stand trial

Mental health evaluation says man who sat on roof during fire can participate in his defense

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: November 30, 2012, 9:38 PM

 

A 41-year-old man was found competent Friday to stand trial in Clark County Superior Court on charges of setting fire to his apartment and then, a room at the Hazel Dell Quality Inn within three days in late September.

Through a Spanish-language interpreter, Angel Torres-Reyna pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree arson and one count of third-degree assault.

A judge ordered in October that a mental health evaluation determine whether Torres-Reyna understands charges against him and can assist in his defense.

Judge Scott Collier reviewed the evaluation Friday and determined Torres-Reyna is competent to be tried. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 14.

Torres-Reyna is accused of setting fire to his apartment Sept. 27 at Willowbrook Apartments on Northeast 51st Street in the Truman neighborhood. Two days later, he allegedly set fire to the hotel room, provided to him by the American Red Cross, at 7001 N.E. Highway 99, then climbed onto the roof of the hotel and refused to come down when responding firefighters attempted to rescue him.

He is accused of kicking down a rescue ladder and caused a firefighter to tumble to the ground, prompting the third-degree assault charge. After that, Torres-Reyna refused to leave the roof.

Evacuated lodgers, including some who had been displaced along with the suspect after the Willowbrook fire, waited outside through the four-hour standoff.

A Spanish-language interpreter was called to the scene. Torres-Reyna, who was wearing no shirt, finally surrendered as night fell and the temperature dropped.


Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.