Ex-University Professor Indicted for California Wildland Fire Arson

A federal grand jury in Sacramento Thursday returned a five-count indictment today against Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose, charging him with setting fires near the massive Dixie Fire this summer.

Prosecutors say some of the fires Maynard set were new fires behind the firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire, which had the potential of trapping firefighters between two fires. They built the case against him by placing a tracking device on his car after becoming aware that he was engaged in suspicious activities around the fire.

Maynard is charged with setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20), the Everitt Fire (July 21), the Ranch Fire (Aug. 7), and the Conard Fire (Aug. 7).

Maynard was a lecturer at a number of universities, teaching classes in criminal justice. If convicted, Maynard faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of arson.

Read the indictment here.

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