Hearing continues for murder, Markley Fire arson suspect

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The man charged with three counts of murder and arson for starting the Markley Fire that merged into the devastating LNU fire made a brief court appearance on Feb. 22.

Vacaville resident Victor Serriteno (30) is accused of murdering Priscilla Castro whose burned remains were found in the Stebbins-Cold Canyon area and suspected to be the location where the fire started.

Serriteno has also been charged with two added counts of murder for the deaths of Pleasants Valley residents Douglas Mai (82) and Leon “James” Bones (64) after the fire spread to their homes and they died.

Wearing a jail issued black and white striped jumpsuit, Serriteno was flanked by armed officers as he was ushered in court. Serriteno has been held without bail since his Sept. 11, 2020 arrest.

Serriteno sat quietly and listened while Solano County Deputy Public Defender Felicia Carrington addressed the judge.

Carrington explained the defense would be incompetent if required to proceed because they lost the last couple of months due to members of the defense team contracting COVID-19, taking scheduled vacations and the holidays.

A six-month continuance was requested to conduct further investigation and prepare the case. Since this is a capital case, Carrington said every witness needs to be interviewed and evidence obtained and evaluated.

Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams argued for a continuance of less than six-months.

Judge Carlos R. Gutierrez said he understood that the People want the case to move forward, but granted the defense’s request and continued the readiness conference to Aug. 22.

As a capital case with the possibility of the death penalty, Abrams told the Express that any decision to seek the death penalty would be made after a preliminary hearing. “We’re seeking justice,” she said.

Castro was reported to have travelled to Vacaville from Oakland to meet Serriteno on Aug. 16, 2020. It is alleged that Serriteno ignited what became known as the Markley Fire to cover up evidence of the murder.

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