Hollister resident and arson suspect David Pequeno was sentenced by Judge Hector Ramon on April 21 to be committed to the California State Hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity by Judge Gilbert Brown on Feb. 25.
The probation department calculated Pequeno’s “exposure,” the prison sentence he would have otherwise received, at 13 years and six months, with 1,069 days credited toward his sentence for time served. As part of the sentence, Ramon specified that Pequeno can be subjected to involuntary medication.
Following Brown’s verdict, Pequeno underwent a psychiatric evaluation to determine his final placement. According to Penal Code Section 1026, if “it appears to the court that the sanity of the defendant has been recovered fully, the defendant shall be remanded to the custody of the sheriff until the issue of sanity has been finally determined in the manner prescribed by law.”
Pequeno, who was 22 at the time of his arrest, was accused of causing four separate fires in November 2020 and faced multiple charges including several counts of vandalism in connection with slashed vehicle tires.
In a previous interview, Fire Chief Bob Martin Del Campo described the downtown fires as “especially difficult because they happened at the same time and we did not have enough resources on hand to handle two fires like that. We tapped out our resources in three minutes.”
Neither Pequeno nor his family, who were present at the hearing, spoke during or after the sentencing. Pequeno’s family declined to make a comment to BenitoLink.
We need your help. Support local, nonprofit news! BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is committed to this community and providing essential, accurate information to our fellow residents. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s public service, nonprofit news.