MADERA COUNTY – A Madera County Superior Court jury took less than 20 minutes on Wednesday, Jan. 16, to find Tad Patrick Moore, 49, guilty of two felony counts of arson, and an additional misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, according to Madera County District Attorney Michael R. Keitz.
Moore was convicted of setting at least two fires along Highway 41 near Coarsegold last summer, just weeks after being released from a Fresno jail where he was being held on suspicion of arson, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
On the afternoon of July 5, 2012, witnesses testified at trial that they saw Moore near a grassland fire east of Highway 41, north of the 22-Mile House, which Cal Fire investigators determined was caused by arson. When Cal Fire personnel approached Moore to talk with him, he ran away.
The following morning, crews were sent scrambling to a second fire approximately a quarter mile north of Yosemite Springs Parkway off Highway 41 near Coarsegold. Cal Fire alerted the Sheriff’s Office when they saw Moore in the area.
Later that morning, as deputies were responding to a call on Highway 49, Lt. Tyson Pogue spotted Moore walking on the roadway near Oakhurst. Moore took off running, and a foot chase ensued, but he was quickly apprehended.
When he was caught, Moore reportedly smelled of smoke and had blackened hands. He later admitted to setting the fires.
Sheriff John Anderson praised the combined efforts of Sheriff’s personnel, Cal Fire Arson investigators, as well as the legal skills of Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Thornton, who prosecuted this case.
Moore now has two felony strikes on his record, and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 19, when he will face up to 8 years, 4 months in state prison.
“Bringing an arsonist to justice is essential to protecting our environment, property and lives,” said District Attorney Keitz.”