DA files no new charges on former Robbers Fire suspect

Bryon Mason of Sacramento a free man, for now
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Cleared in March of arson charges, the man who spent more than seven months in jail for allegedly starting the 2,650-acre Robbers Fire that cost $13 million to extinguish is now free as the court removed his supervised release and no further charges were filed against him.

Bryon Mason of Sacramento made his first court appearance Tuesday since Judge Colleen Nichols ordered his release upon ruling on March 5 there had been insufficient evidence to hold him over for trial on felony arson charges.

Mason walked out of Placer County Superior Court Dept. 13 with a smile on his face.

He is off the court calendar, and the Placer County District Attorney’s office has told Mason’s attorney Thomas Leupp he would be contacted if and when the DA decides to move forward.

“The judge did indicate that at the most the case could be charged as a reckless burning, and the District Attorney’s office could have filed a charge today, and they elected not to at this time,” said Leupp, who is based in Auburn. “They are reevaluating their case at this time, I think.”

The DA’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The fire allegedly sparked by Mason’s illegal firework raged from July 11 through July 22, 2012, forcing evacuations of Foresthill and Iowa Hill residents for nearly a week. It burned one residence, four outbuildings and threatened 170 more homes.

A pair of firefighters had been allegedly injured in the fire, but Nichols also cleared Mason of the great bodily injury enhancement to his charges in March.

Check the print edition of the Journal on Wednesday for more details on this story.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews