The following is a press release from the Mendocino County District Attorney:
With his jury trial scheduled to commence this coming Monday, defendant Alfredo Orduno Hopper, age 36, generally of Ukiah, chose to forego a trial and, instead, plead no contest to the charge of felony arson of property, said crime occurring on Old River Road in the vicinity of Ruddick Cunningham Road in May of this year.
The defendant intentionally and maliciously set fire to property last May around 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the Talmage area. A passing motorist saw the defendant feeding a fire already underway and called 9-1-1 for help.
To resolve his case short of trial, the defendant was required to stipulate to a state prison sentence of 36 months, the maximum sentence allowed for this particular fire crime under current California law.
The defendant’s case was referred to the Adult Probation Department for preparation of an information and background packet to accompany the defendant to state prison.
The stipulated state prison sentence will be imposed on October 19, 2021 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department A at Ukiah’s downtown courthouse.
Upon his eventual release from prison on parole, the defendant will be required to register annually as an arson offender with local law enforcement for life in the city or county where he eventually resides.
Those interested in this defendant or the state prison sentence to be imposed are welcome to attend the sentencing hearing. Be aware that masks are still required in and around the courthouse.
The law enforcement agency that developed the evidence supporting today’s conviction was the California Highway Patrol. Fire personnel from the Hopland Fire Department, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, and Cal Fire also responded to the scene.
The attorney who is handling the prosecution of this particular fire-starting defendant is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman accepted the defendant’s change of plea Thursday afternoon. Judge Keith Faulder will be the sentencing judge on October 19th.