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Hollywood arsonist 'hated America'

The Local · 5 Jan 2012, 07:01

Published: 05 Jan 2012 07:01 GMT+01:00

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In a brief court appearance during which he was shackled and had to be held up at points by law enforcement officers Wednesday, Harry Burkhart, 24, spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges against him – 37 counts of arson.

"The string of fires terrorized residents of Hollywood and the Westside. No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but property damage ... was in the millions of dollars," said District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Prosecutor Sean Carney told the court that Burkhart launched the arson spree on the night of December 29, hours after yelling foul-mouthed anti-American invective at an extradition court hearing for his mother Dorothee.

"This offender has engaged in … what essentially amounts to a campaign of terror against this community," told the court, adding that Burkhart "engaged in this conduct because he has a hatred for Americans."

Burkhart "was set off by the incarceration of his mother, with whom he appears to be quite close, and he had latent anti-American views," added Cooley. "That combination apparently set him off on this binge."

Burkhart, who is also wanted for alleged arson in Germany, was detained early Monday after a tip-off from the State Department, which was in contact with Berlin over his mother, wanted in German on fraud charges.

In all there were at least 52 deliberately-set fires in Hollywood and surrounding districts, causing millions of dollars in damage in the biggest arson spree since the 1992 LA riots.

No one was killed or seriously injured in the attacks, most of which targeted cars parked either outside homes or in car ports under apartment buildings.

Burkhart, who travels on a German passport, was staying with his mother in Hollywood at the time, a statement by Cooley's office said.

She is fighting extradition to Germany where she faces 19 charges including defrauding apartment tenants out of security checks, and failing to pay a bill of about $10,000 for breast-augmentation, according to court documents.

On Tuesday Dorothee Burkhart coincidentally told a judge that her son was mentally ill, as she appeared in court, apparently unaware that her son had been arrested over the arson.

"Where is he? Dead? ... Maybe the German Nazi knows our address," she said according to the LA Times newspaper, adding in broken English: "He is mental ill."

She has also been linked to a website offering the services of a licensed massage therapist. The site is registered in her name with the Hollywood address where she was living with her son, local media reported.

In Germany, prosecutors in the central city of Marburg said Wednesday that Harry Burkhart is also being investigated in his native country on charges of arson and fraud.

Story continues below…

Authorities are looking into a fire that took place at a property in central Germany in October last year.

"When the fire was extinguished, there were indications of arson," said Annemarie Wied, the spokeswoman for the state prosecutor's office.

In Los Angeles, LA Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra ordered Burkhart to remain jailed in lieu of $2.85 million bail and to surrender his passport, pending his next hearing on January 24.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

07:26 January 5, 2012 by Wrench
Too funny! The crazy bitch tried to blame the 'German Nazi'. Once a fraud, always a fraud.
08:15 January 5, 2012 by Landmine
The apple does not fall far from the tree as one can see in this story...
08:37 January 5, 2012 by trevzns
Mamie Dearest is not crazy, just another irresponsible mother making excuses for her irresponsible Schatz ­ treasure.

And, to make a bad situation worse for Mother and Son, bad timing, wrong country to proclaim hating Americans. … its an election year, Dummköpfe! Stupid idiots!
10:19 January 5, 2012 by bugger
If you do a wee bit more of research, you may find out that these two "Germans" are native Chechens which came to Germany as "war refugees".

Upon committing a series of crimes in Germany and encountering lengthy jail terms, they fled to Northern America where they have unsuccessfully tried to apply for refugee status in Canada and the U.S. where the mother who illegally stayed in the U.S. made her living with masturbatory prostitution, badly disguised as "mdical prostrate massages". In Germany, her son is wanted for arson as he is suspected to have burnt down their house and cashed in the insurance money. The woman is wanted in Germany for gang fraud and embezzlement worth another € 40,000.-

No wonder these Russian "refugees" do not want to go back to evil asylum-granting Germany. Too bad the mother will be extradited to Germany where she will cost the German tax payer more money again for her legal defense and her feeding in jail. "The German Nazi" (= quote) are still good enough to pay for those freeloaders. Germany should hand her back her Chechen papers, strip her of all German papers and claims, and deport her back to Grozny. The son will have fun enough in an American jail in any case for the next decades.
11:00 January 5, 2012 by DonQuixote
Why not blame the German Nazis?

This tactic of shifting attention and blaming the German Nazis for all things evil and negative is common practice for students of the Kennan formula.

The German treasury is the promise land of milk and honey, for all WWII refugees with a German shepherd dog and legal or illegal claims.
12:15 January 5, 2012 by zeddriver
When Burkhart stated his hate for America. Then went there as a foreign national to act on his hate. The Federal government if they really wanted to be nasty probably could elevate this to an act of terrorism. Not just run of the mill arson.

Either way. He is in deep s**t!
12:44 January 5, 2012 by trevzns
The mother and son original nationality and character will fall victim to the US and Hollywood news media circus. The mother and son team are golden eggs for tv news shows.

Headline News.

German boy hates Americans, burn homes and autos. His mother an alleged at home Illegal massages therapists and Con Artist, are wanted by German police and the German Nazi gang.

Headline News.

Russian refugees Mother and Son from Grozny now German citizens. Boy hates Americans, burn homes and autos. His mother an alleged at home illegal massages therapists and Con Artist, are wanted by German police and the German Nazi gang.

A possible book deal is possible for this couple, just ask Amanda Knox.
14:46 January 5, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
>"fired up by anti-American "hatred" fueled by his mother's fight against deportation to Germany"

well, at least it looks like he himself will now get to stay in the U.S. for a very long time.

I'm not sure how much time you get for serial arson in California, but I am sure they will pull no punches with him.
15:16 January 5, 2012 by XFYRCHIEF

In California, where he will be tried and sentenced, he will be tried on "aggravated arson", which carries a penalty of 10 years to life. In another post, I would said I would expect him to get 50 - 75 years, and be eligible for parole in 25 - 35 years.
15:59 January 5, 2012 by Al uk
Sounds like a lovely family.

This is what happens when you hand passports out like sweets as we in the UK know all too well.
17:01 January 5, 2012 by derExDeutsche
'"Where is he? Dead? ... Maybe the German Nazi knows our address," she said '

Haha. Sounds like she is scared of and obsessed with Neo-Nazis. are you sure she isn't a writer for theLocal.de?
17:20 January 5, 2012 by Whipmanager
The talk here is he will be charged with 52 counts of arson, each has a 10 year max penalty on its own. Compounding the problem is he will also be charged with using a fire excellerator for each, and that will also carry another major amount of years for each count. this morning on the talk radio (KFI640 AM- the best Talk show in LA Area) that he is looking at over 150 years of Jail time. He is on Bail for $2.8 Million and will not see the light of day as a free man ever again.
21:25 January 5, 2012 by ovalle3.14
@Al uk

Do you mean that if nationality laws were stricter, crimes like this would not be committed?
22:37 January 5, 2012 by Anth2305
The 1951 charter on asylum was originally intended to mop up European refugees in the aftermath of world war two, long before the advent of cheap mass global air travel.

Its remit was then amended in 1967 to cover countries beyond Europe, however in an increasingly unstable world, huge challenges such as population growth, financial crisis, wars, famine and ecological disasters, will almost without doubt lead to hundreds of millions of people on the move, who under the existing rules will be perfectly entitled to demand asylum in countries which are signatories to the convention, maybe the time has now arrived for the EU to rearview the original charter and update it for a very different 21st century world, although if previous form is anything to go by, then I won't be holding my breath.
22:40 January 5, 2012 by XFYRCHIEF
Given the evidence against him, while he may be charged with 52 counts, I really doubt it. First, there is no way the prosecution would want to present evidence on all 52 counts; they would either have to try each crime separately, or risk the defense showing that 1 or more of the fires were actually set by someone else. The likely course will be either to try him only for incidents where the evidence is very strong knowing that even a single conviction carries a potential life sentence. The other option would be a plea agreement, where he would plea guilty to one or more of the fires, and agree to a fixed sentence. @whipmanager, while he may have used an accelerant, the "aggravating" circumstances of the number and value of the would be just as important. The fact that it is aggravated arson increases the sentence to a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life. As an Arson Investigator for over 20 years, it will be interesting to see how this goes.
01:04 January 6, 2012 by zeddriver

I don't know of any press agency that wouldn't run a hundred miles an hour with this story.

Personally, I want to know where they are from. Because with this case. I would ask the authorities why a notice was not put in the system to flag their passports. They each would have to have shown them twice. The authorities knew they came to Germany from another country and therefore had passports. And should have known they were a flight risk. But that would require foreword thinking by the authorities. Thankfully Burkhart didn't kill anyone. Otherwise the German authorities would have blood on their hands due to their inability to take proper action.


Thanks for your service to the community.
16:30 January 6, 2012 by raandy
Come on people this poor Russian refugee is the product of a dysfunctional family.

He only hates America because his poor mother has a few legal issues there.I am sure he will warm up a bit over the next 15 years or so during his time at a club California institution where he will be relegated to.

You all know to err is human to forgive is divine.

I believe he was only kidding when he said he hated America.
19:01 January 6, 2012 by RedLeg6
Saw a mugshot of the mother on CNN. She should have defrauded someone for a face transplant instead of breast implants.
22:48 January 6, 2012 by Drewsky
I don't think anyone here (in the USA) is looking at this as anything more than a dysfunctional & criminally inclined family who happen to have located in an American city. It's no reflection on Germany, Russia or any other country. I hope no one tries to make a German / American issue out of this; it's enough of a mess already.
00:26 January 7, 2012 by Drdarby
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:59 January 7, 2012 by deutschamer
@ Drdarby,

Thank you for sharing your hatred with us.

@ everyone else,

I'm an American that does not share Drdarby's hatred of Germans. Also, every time I've been in Germany, the Germans are very kind to me, so I don't think Germans hate the US.
04:53 January 7, 2012 by soros
Isnt it odd how we all seem to have Nazis on the brain? Are we born these days with the concept of Naziism implanted somewhere in the grey matter? And, it's not just the Brits or the Americans, it's global and spreading like a virus. Whenever there is something objectionable, resurrect the "Nazi" image. Are we all brainwashed?
11:17 January 7, 2012 by surfoutsider
Harry Burkhart is also being investigated in his native country on charges of arson and fraud

Their native country is Chechyna in either Russia or USSR. I don't know the time period when they fled to Germany, but at the time Harry Burkhart was 7 years old according to the LA Times. Germany is their naturalized country, not native country.
15:25 January 7, 2012 by Bruno53
Funny that we people in USA, known to be so arrogant with the country [not me, I hate it!] seem to attract wild crazy people just as arrogant as we are! And we complain about it!
15:54 January 7, 2012 by storymann
The previous history of Burkhart and his mother was detailed in the LA times

20:35 January 7, 2012 by Matt in Florida
They are not Germans, this is just the looney left clinging to the idea what you passport says gives you a hertige; which it does not. Only the blood matters DNA people.
09:30 January 11, 2012 by heyheyhey
This arsonist is a very angry and dangerous man. It does not matter where he comes from but it does matter that he not be free to start fires. Arson is something that must be taken seriously, as the crime that it is.

Why is it, given the criminality of the mother, that she was able to leave Germany? We're there not serious efforts made to arrest her? It is something that Germany needs to reflect upon and to improve.

It is good that only objects were destroyed.
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