Ex-Marine Pleads No Contest in Series of NoHo Fires

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NORTH HOLLYWOOD — A former U.S. Marine convicted of arson fires while stationed in Japan more than a decade ago pleaded no contest to starting several vehicle and motor home fires in North Hollywood.

marine-arsonKurt Kaye Billie, 35, entered his plea on Tuesday to two counts of arson of an inhabited structure and one count of aggravated arson.

As part of his plea, he admitted setting 21 fires to vehicles and motor homes in July and August 2011 in the North Hollywood area.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney said some of the fires spread to nearby inhabited structures, including apartment buildings, and two people suffered smoke inhalation.

Billie will be sentenced May 6 and as part of the plea agreement will receive 10 years in prison from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Jesic.

The former Marine also admitted being convicted of arson in Okinawa, Japan, when he was stationed there in 2001, Carney said.

Billie made international news when he was arrested for burning seven restaurants and bars in Chatan in central Okinawa during two separate arsons.

The judge found Billie criminally responsible for the 2001 attacks, noting he “was drunk and made the attacks to escape from reality,” according to an Associated Press report of the verdict.

He caused more than $1 million damage in North Hollywood, authorities said. A restitution hearing will be held at a later date.

–Los Angeles Times

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