Summit Fire Suspect Gets Jury Trial

Judge rules there is enough evidence to try Channing Verden.

By Erika Okano
|  Friday, May 20, 2011  |  Updated 6:51 AM PDT
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Arrest Made in Santa Cruz Summit Fire

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The man accused of recklessly starting the 2008 Summit Fire will stand trial.

A judge ruled Thursday there is enough evidence for Los Gatos contractor Channing Verden to face a jury, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Verden, 52, apparently failed to put out a large pile of logs that he was burning while clearing a property on Summit Road. The judge says he was told by a number of people that burning was dangerous and it was not done within safety standards.

If convicted, Verden faces probation to up to five years in prison.

The Summit Fire started on May 22, 2008. It destroyed 63 homes, 69 outbuildings and burned more than 4,200 acres in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Crews spent five days trying to put the fire out.

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