TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date: August 9, 2011
Susan Kang Schroeder, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Chief of Staff Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
Case # 09HF1875: MAN CONVICTED OF HATE CRIME ARSON FOR SETTING CHURCH PROPERTY ON FIRE AFTER BECOMING DISGRUNTLED WITH ITS TEACHINGS AGAINST MASTURBATION
SANTA ANA – A man has been convicted of committing hate crime arson by lighting three fires at an Irvine church and attempting to set the church on fire because he was disgruntled with the church’s teachings regarding masturbation. Izad Chavoshan, 32, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty to the court to three felony counts of arson, one felony count of attempted arson, and a hate crime sentencing enhancement. The defendant has a prior strike conviction for criminal threats in 1998.
He faces a sentence ranging from probation up to 20 years in state prison at his sentencing Aug. 19, 2011, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On three separate nights between Oct. 15, 2009, and Oct. 19, 2009, Chavoshan drove to the Orange County Church of Christ in Irvine after everyone had left. The defendant, a former church member, disagreed with the church and its teachings against masturbation. On all three occasions, the defendant moved trash cans to the front of the church and set the contents on fire. Church employees reported the fires to Irvine police, who began investigating the case.
At approximately 10:00 p.m. on Oct. 21, 2009, Chavoshan drove to the church and parked close to the front doors. He approached the front of the church and repeatedly threw a trash can at the glass portion of the front doors in an effort to break the glass. The defendant then removed a pack of matches from his pocket, lit a piece of paper on fire, and attempted to set the church on fire by pushing the lit piece of paper between the closed church doors.
Chavoshan was arrested at the scene by officers, who had been monitoring the church in response to the three trash can arsons. This case was investigated by the Irvine Police Department Special Investigations Unit and Orange County Fire Authority fire investigators.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
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