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Yuma man charged in string of weekend fires
A Yuma man was charged Wednesday in connection with a string of fires set between the 2100 block of South 7th Avenue and the 1500 block of South 6th Avenue.
John Cody Heggs, 25, was charged with three counts of arson and one count of criminal damage. He was arraigned in Yuma Justice Court before Justice of the Peace Manny Figueroa, who ordered Heggs be held on a $35,000 cash bond.
Heggs is suspected of starting three separate fires, one of which caused an estimated $2,000 in damages.
At 1:21 a.m. Saturday, Yuma police responded to a report that a man was setting fires in the area of 24th Street and 7th Avenue. While investigating, officers saw a man flee from them in the 1400 block of South 9th Avenue. Officers eventually located the suspect and placed him into custody without further incident.
During his court hearing, prosecutor James Eustace told the court that because Heggs had two prior felony convictions, he was looking at mandatory prison sentences if convicted of the latest charges. Eustace also said that Heggs had been on probation until a year ago for one of those previous offenses.
In addition to appointing the public defender's office to represent Heggs, he scheduled his next court date — a preliminary hearing — for Jan. 10 at 4 p.m.
Heggs addressed the court during his brief hearing, saying the previous convictions are completely unrelated to the latest offenses and shouldn't be taken into consideration on the new charges.
“I have never been convicted of arson or suspected of it,” Heggs told the court.
Eustace responded by tellng the court that Heggs had actually been charged with arson several years ago as a juvenile for setting a fire outside of a Yuma business.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.