California man allegedly tried to set homeless man on fire: report

A California man accused of lighting a sleeping homeless person on fire and then taking photos of the blaze appeared in court on Tuesday and was charged with attempted murder.

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Richard Smallets, 32, was arrested earlier this month in connection to an arson investigation in Glendale, a city in Los Angeles County, according to court records.

Glendale police responded at around 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 12 to help firefighters extinguish a small sidewalk fire.

A homeless man told investigators he was asleep underneath cardboard boxes when he woke up to the smell of smoke. He said he attempted to put out the blaze with bottled water before fire crews arrived, the Glendale Police Department said in a press release.

Detectives obtained surveillance video from a nearby business that showed a man intentionally setting fire to the cardboard structure and pausing to take pictures of flames, the press release said. Smallets was later identified as a suspect and placed under arrest.

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Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Smallets with attempted murder the next day. He pleaded not guilty during a previous court hearing on Sept. 16, Los Angeles' KTLA reported. He was held on a $1 million bond.