(NEXSTAR) – The couple whose gender revealing coup sparked the deadly El Dorado fire last year in Southern California have been charged with manslaughter, among dozens of other charges .
The blaze, which burned more than 22,000 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, was reportedly started on September 5 after Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez arranged to detonate a “smoke bomb” gender revealing in El Dorado Park, according to the San Bernardino County Attorney’s Office.
The blaze burned until mid-November, destroying homes, buildings and resulted in the death of U.S. Forest Service firefighter Charles Morton, as well as injuries to others.
A criminal grand jury issued an indictment against Refugio Jimenez and Angela Jimenez this week, San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said at a press conference on Tuesday.
In response to a reporter who asked how the grand jury determined the criminal charges – specifically a manslaughter charge – Anderson suggested the jury received evidence from the US Forest Service and the County Sheriff’s Department. San Bernardino, regarding the guilt.
“Obviously, [Morton] wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t started in the first place, in terms of where he was, ”Anderson said.
“Homicide detectives worked with US Forestry, along with their experts, to determine cause and effect. So looking at that, we thought based on the evidence… that’s why the grand jury decided to charge with manslaughter.
Refugio Jimenez and Angela Jimenez were charged with one count of manslaughter, three counts of arson with grievous bodily harm, four counts of burning of inhabited structures and 22 counts of recklessly accusation of arson. owned by another, Anderson said.
The two have pleaded not guilty to arraignment and will return to court on September 15, Anderson said.
The district attorney’s office requested that the Jimenez couple be held on bail, although the two were released on their own covenants.