Guilty Verdict for Infamous Peninsula Arsonist

A jury delivered a guilty verdict Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in San Jose against a man accused of starting a four-alarm fire that destroyed a historic downtown Palo Alto building in July 2007.

Prosecutors said Donald Ray Williams climbed to the roof of the two-story structure on July 1, 2007, and entered a second-story office space where he lit the fire.

The seven-man, five-woman jury delivered the guilty verdict at about 11 a.m. today on a charge of arson affecting interstate commerce.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Fry said Williams faces up to 20 years in prison but will likely be sentenced to between five and 15 years.

The 102-year-old building that burned contained a Walgreen's store on the street level and vacant offices on the second floor.

Fry included in his closing argument Wednesday a list of the witnesses who placed Williams on the roof of the Walgreen's building at 310 University Ave. that night.

Prosecutors also presented DNA evidence allegedly linking Williams to a T-shirt found in a Dumpster located in a nearby alley.

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