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Vegetation Fire Turns Into Arson & Felony Domestic Violence Arrest

MARIPOSA — On July 23, 2020, deputies responded to a call regarding a violent male individual, residing in the 5000 block of Alta Vista Rd., who was at the scene of a vegetation and structure fire.

Upon contacting Charles Leslie, 52, of Mariposa, deputies learned that Charles had been drinking and purposely started the fire because he “…was upset that CAL-FIRE was attempting to control and contain the fire.” Charles began to make death threats towards the CAL-FIRE firefighters, as well as threatening several times to shoot with a .30-.30 (also known as a Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle) anyone who came into contact with him.

In an attempt to further convey his position, deputies stated that Charles continued shouting several times, “…that [Charles] is a killer or that he would kill anyone making an attempt to suppress the fire.”

It was decided that for the safety of all concerned, and in an effort to deescalate the situation, CAL-FIRE firefighters would relocate to a safe distance, where they would be able to monitor the situation in safety.

It was later determined that the Sheriff’s Office Special Resources Team (SRT) was needed onsite after emergency personal saw Charles drinking alcohol and screaming demeaning statements at a child. The child was later discovered to have a cognitive disability.

Charles then turned his attention towards emergency personal, violently yelling “I will kill you! You are going to die tonight!” The Sheriff’s Office Negotiation Team, being concerned for the minor’s safety, attempted to peacefully contact him via telephone to ask that he come out, allow the child to leave the house, and to allow CAL-FIRE fire fighters to attend to the fire.

After an excruciating two-hour wait, the minor was removed from the house and reunited with his mother at the Sheriff’s headquarters.

After three hours, the SRT unit, with the assistance of additional patrol deputies and K9 Niko, were able to enter Charles’ residence, where he was found upstairs, still screaming at the Special Resource Team. After he failed to comply with continued requests, K9 Niko was brought in to assist, the result being Charles quickly being taken into custody.

Due to the medical concerns of emergency personnel, Charles was transported to John C. Fremont Hospital, where he received medical clearance before being booked into the Mariposa County Adult Detention Facility.

Bail is set at $500,000.

Charles Leslie is currently being held with the following charges:

  • 451(B): Felony Arson on a structure
  • 273(A): Felony Child Endangerment
  • 454(A)(2): Felony Violation of Arson Code During a State of Emergency
  • 451( C ): Felony Arson on Land
  • 415(1): Misdemeanor Fight
  • 69: Felony Resisting Arrest

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