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Arson suspect mentally incompetent

A man suspected of starting a string of forest wildfires near Flagstaff has been ruled mentally incompetent. Arizona Public Radio’s Terry Ward reports…

Judge Mark Aspey decided not to allow 40-year old Mark Mastin to be charged with nine new counts of setting timber afire, declaring him to be mentally incompetent. The Arizona Daily Sun reports that Mastin’s defense attorney moved to have his client evaluated based on the belief that he may have a mental illness or defect that could affect his competency.

Prosecutors earlier charged Mastin with one misdemeanor count of burning without a permit after he admitted to authorities that he had started six small wildland fires near Marshall Lake, about twelve miles southeast of Flagstaff . The fires were quickly contained. A physician has determined that given proper treatment, Mastin might be able to understand the charges against him… And charges could be filed at that time.