Da Vinci Arson Suspect Denied Reduction in $1 Million Bail

LOS ANGELES — A pre-trial hearing was held on Thursday for Dawud Abdulwali, 56, the man who is accused of being the arsonist responsible for the massive conflagration that rendered the Da Vinci Building in downtown Los Angeles a complete loss. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra denied a request from Abdulwali’s public defender, Lowynn Young, to reduce his $1 million bail.

According to Deputy District Attorney and Prosecutor Sean Carney, the cost of damages is approaching $100 million, upped from earlier estimates topped at $60 million. “This was an arson of massive proportions. It placed everyone within a several-block radius in danger,” Carney said.

When examining Abdulwali’s criminal record, Carney explained that the alleged arsonist is “both a flight risk and a danger to the community… He has a record that includes grand theft, forgery and acts of fraud,” and has served prison time on multiple occasions.

Carney continued that in 2005, Abdulwali was “arrested for the possession of narcotics proceeds,” and was accused of running an operation in his which his courier was apprehended and ratted him out for arranging for the transport of the drug methamphetamine between the United States and Japan.

Abdulwali has traveled traveled to Saipan at least twice since the investigation into the December 8 fire began six months ago.

Japan is one of the most lucrative markets for meth, (known there as “shabu”) which leads many international drug traffickers there seeking to sell the highly-addictive and deadly drug.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Ms. Young said “the evidence is really circumstantial” and that the footage on the cameras which allegedly captured her client was not very clear.

When asked how officials were able to identify Abdulwali as the alleged arsonist, Mr. Carney declined to provide details, but stated his confidence that Adbulwali was the suspect they have been seeking.

Prosecutors allege that Abdulwali spread accelerant on the fourth floor of the framework of the seven-story building. Security camera footage that is being used against Abdulwali purports to show a man who parked his car on the 110 Freeway before walking to the Da Vinci structure with several cans of fuel in hand.

Abdulwali was arrested on May 26 and arraigned on May 28th.

Judge Kalra ordered Abdulwali back in court on July 22. At that time a date will be set for his preliminary court hearing at which time it could be determined if and when a trial can formally begin.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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