3-alarm condo fire: Arson, attempted murder suspect has court brief hearing Monday

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - The man who gave a tearful interview on 7NEWS after a 3-alarm fire at a condo complex near Thornton faced a judge on arson and attempted murder charges Monday.

The brief hearing for Martin Castruita Espinoza involved his initial appearance and he requested a bond reduction. The judge scheduled a future hearing for March 12 at 1:30 p.m. and said bond could be addressed at that time.

Espinoza represented himself in the hearing Monday.

Espinoza turned himself in Friday at the Adams County Jail, Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Paul Gregory confirmed. He was charged with arson, attempted murder and aggravated cruelty to animals.

the judge advised Espinoza Monday that the attempted murder charge could bring up to 48 years in prison. The arson charge could carry 24 and the aggravated cruelty to animals charge could bring 3 more.

The fire broke out Tuesday at 88th Avenue and Corona St., in Adams County just outside of Thornton.

AIRTRACKER7's cameras showed the flames rising high from one 12-unit building and spreading to a second, neighboring building.

Two people were injured in the fire.

During coverage of the fire, 7NEWS interviewed Espinoza. The video of that interview can be viewed above.

"I just happened to see everyone running toward my mom's house," Espinoza told 7NEWS, "I heard people say look at the smoke and look at the flames. So I turned around. I saw smoke start billowing up. So I ran around the side of the building to see what was happening and that's when I saw all the flames blowing out the staircase."

He goes on to describe running back to a nearby Walmart to call his sister and the subsequent arrival of the fire department. He says the firefighters arrived 15 or 20 minutes after he made that call.

Espinoza posted on his Facebook page late Thursday morning, hours before he was officially named a suspect: "After the interview I was asked to give up every piece of clothing I had on so it could be taken as evidence."

 

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