October 31, 2006

Sentence reduced in fireworks explosion

Lakewood man whose cache destroyed house will serve 4 years, pay $185,000.

By Karen Robes, Staff writer, Long Beach Press Telegram
Article Launched:10/30/2006 10:55:17 PM PST

NORWALK - A Superior Court judge Monday shortened the prison time of a Lakewood man whose illegal fireworks cache damaged his neighbors' homes and ordered him to pay nearly $185,000 in restitution.

Before ruling on the amount Brian Miller would owe his former neighbors on Dunrobin Avenue, Judge Cynthia Rayvis granted a request by Miller's attorney, Scott Well, to allow his client to serve two of his more than six felony counts concurrently.

Well argued and Rayvis agreed that the two counts - possession of explosive devices and possession of the materials used to make an explosive device - are one in the same and that, according to Penal Code 654, those counts cannot be served consecutively.

For Miller, who waived his right to appear before Rayvis Monday, that means serving four years instead of five. With credits for good behavior, Miller's actual time served will be a little more than two years in prison, Well said.

When Miller is released, he will start chipping away at the $185,000 he was ordered to pay for shattered windows, lost personal belongings and the destruction of the house he rented for four years. Insurance companies paid for about $147,000 of those damages.

"He intends to work and he intends to pay," Well said, adding that Miller was sorry that the incident happened.

Among those Miller owes is Doris Bolin and her daughter, Carol Schwartz, who owned the 6178 Dunrobin Avenue home Miller rented.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom house - which had been in the family's possession since 1945 - was sold in July to a property company, which recently began work on the house.

Schwartz said the March 5 blast destroyed several irreplaceable family belongings, including antique dolls and landscape paintings her grandmother created.

Asked about Miller's shortened sentence, Schwartz said she tries not to think about it.

"We're trying to put it behind us," she said.

Karen Robes can be reached at karen.robes@presstelegram.com or (562) 499-1303.

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