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Arson Suspect Admits Drug, Arms Offenses

March 26, 1985|JANET RAE-DUPREE | Times Staff Writer

A cancer-stricken Northridge man, who investigators say is still a suspect in two arson fires that destroyed a nearly completed apartment project in January, pleaded guilty Monday to four felony weapons and drugs charges.

Robert Bruce Williams, who turned 33 on Sunday, pleaded guilty before San Fernando Superior Court Judge Dana Senit Henry to single counts of possessing cocaine, cultivating marijuana, possessing a destructive device and possessing a silencer.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kenneth Barshop said the charge of possessing a destructive device, which was brought because explosive bullets were found in Williams' home, was reduced from the original charge of possessing a destructive device near a place of habitation.

Williams, a free-lance photographer who is undergoing chemotherapy for malignant tumors in his stomach, was arrested Jan. 18 after police raided his home to look for evidence that might link him to two arson fires at a Northridge apartment construction site. The January fires caused more than $2.6 million in damage.

Although arson charges have not been filed against Williams, Los Angeles Fire Department investigator Gary Cooper said Monday that the arson investigation is continuing and Williams is still considered a suspect. Cooper noted that the statute of limitations on arson is three years.

Williams, who remains in County Jail in lieu of $68,500 bail, has lost most of his shoulder-length hair because of the cancer treatment and appeared weak and pale while entering his guilty pleas Monday. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine when he appears for sentencing April 22, Barshop said.

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