Cocos Fire case: Girl is competent, judge says

SAN DIEGO - A girl accused of setting a San Marcos-area wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes was in court on Wednesday, where she was found competent to stand trial.

The 13-year-old's attorney, Ryan McGlinn, also entered not guilty pleas on her behalf on four felony counts of arson, including one count of arson from the day before the May fire – dubbed the Cocos Fire – started, court records show.

Also inside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Shawnalyse Ochoa told the judge and the courtroom that the teen's parents could be held responsible for restitution.

"That is a legal requirement in order to give notice to the family that if there is restitution they may potentially be liable for restitution," Ochoa told 10News outside the courthouse. She added it was too early to say how much that could be.

If the 13-year-old is found guilty on all counts, she could face 13 years and eight months behind bars for the charges as alleged, Ochoa said.

The May wildfire, dubbed the Cocos Fire, blackened nearly 2,000 acres. It was one of a spate of more than a dozen wildfires that erupted in the San Diego area in critically hot, dry and windy conditions.

Combined, the fires scorched tens of thousands of acres, forced hundreds of evacuations and temporarily closed numerous schools and businesses. Damage estimates, along with the costs associated with fighting the blazes, are in the tens of millions of dollars.

Walking out to the parking lot, a 10News crew caught up with McGlinn, who was walking with the teen and her parents. 10News asked him if he would talk, but he declined.

By court order last month, the teen still remains out of custody and maintains a 6 p.m. curfew. She will be back in court next month.

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