http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/01/13/zuffa-indicted-in-2008-arson


Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 13, 2012

Zuffa indicted in 2008 arson

Enters second not guilty plea

by Glenn Wohltmann

The woman charged with torching her East Angela Street home in 2008 is due for a hearing in Hayward later this month.

Deonna Zuffa, 43, was indicted Jan. 4 by the Alameda County Grand Jury on charges of arson and possession of flammable liquids. Zuffa was initially charged by the District Attorney's Office with arson, possession of flammable material with intent to set fire, and one charge of forgery; the grand jury indictment, however, supercedes the original charges.

She's entered not guilty pleas on the indictment and is set for a pretrial hearing Jan. 20.

The case took more than two years to investigate, although Zuffa was the only one home when the 11 a.m. explosion and fire on Dec. 8, 2008, sent her running from the house on fire. Her clothes and shoes were still burning when police in the neighborhood rushed to her aid.

Police concluded that an accelerant had been used to start the fire, and "substantial physical and financial evidence was collected which indicated Zuffa was responsible for the arson," a police report said. The motive appeared to have been financial gain; Zuffa and her husband Keith filed for bankruptcy in June 2008, six months before the fire.

Zuffa received second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body. She was treated at St. Francis Memorial Hospital's Bothin Burn Center in San Francisco but has since recovered.

Neighbors at the time said they heard a loud explosion that shook the ground, followed by the fire that left the single-story home a total loss and damaged two nearby homes.

Pleasanton police with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and members of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department investigated the fire, sifting through the remnants to uncover evidence that the fire was deliberately set.

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