Mistrial Declared in Sanity Phase of Hollywood Arsonist

A judge Friday declared a mistrial in the sanity phase of the trial of a German man convicted of being a serial arsonist responsible for setting at least 50 fires across Hollywood and neighboring areas five years ago.

Harry Burkhart leaves a downtown courtroom after being found guilty on 47 counts of arson. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Harry Burkhart leaves a downtown courtroom after being found guilty on 47 counts of arson. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

After two days of deliberations, a jury of six men and six women said they were deadlocked and unable to resolve whether Harry Burkhart, 29, was sane or insane at the time he set ablaze carports, garages and driveways from Christmas 2011 through New Year’s 2012.

On Sept. 1, the same jury convicted Burkhart of 47 arson-related felony counts and two counts of possession of an incendiary device.

After the first day of deliberations in the sanity phase, the jury informed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli they might deadlocked. They then requested that testimony of a psychologist for the defense be read back to them. By Friday afternoon, the panel declared they could not agree on a finding.

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