Trace Fire Started on a Whim

We are learning for the first time exactly how and why Trace Elementary was set on fire.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011  |  Updated 4:52 PM PDT
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Trace Fire Started on a Whim

The 2010 arson fire at San Jose's Trace Elementary was one of biggest headlines of the past year. This week, documents were finally unsealed in the case that show what motivated the two boys to set the fire.

Ann Seery with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office said the judge in the case unsealed the evidence Tuesday.  The San Jose Mercury news says the document is three-pages long and was ordered unsealed after police and the district attorney's office argued statements made by the teens, if publicized, could deprive them of their right to a fair trial.

Seery told NBC Bay Area the document states that Kliefert Guiang and Lazarus Reavallez both confessed to starting the fire following police questioning.

The confessions came last fall when both told police they came up with the idea to set the school on fire on an apparently whim while they were walking home late at night on July 4 last summer.
 
They said they put rolls of paper in a trash can along one side of the school and set it on fire with a lighter. They said the wind made it difficult to light. Then the boys said they went to the other side of the school and found some cardboard and lit it on fire.

The only disagreement between the two boys stories is who owned the lighter. Each said it was the other one's lighter that was used to start the fire.

Former Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr charged the boys as adults in connection with the fire on July 5 2010 that caused $10 million in damage to the San Jose elementary school.

Each face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison if convicted.

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