A Los Osos man accused of setting his home on fire in February and physically resisting emergency responders’ attempts to help him was convicted of arson and obstruction charges Wednesday following a six-day trial in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
After less than three hours of deliberation, a jury found Mark Warren Hannah, 48, guilty of three felony counts of arson and resisting peace officers by threats or violence.
Hannah faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in state prison when he is sentenced Oct. 27.
He remains at San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he has been in custody since being released from the hospital, in lieu of $35,000 bail, according to jail records.
The Feb. 8 fire that destroyed the home on the 600 block of Woodland Drive also left Hannah with burns to his feet, hands, torso and face. He was treated at the burn unit of the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office at the time said that twice within a week of the fire, deputies had been called by members of Hannah’s family to perform welfare checks on him. The family members said he appeared distraught and that they were worried about his mental health.
During the first check, Hannah refused to come out of his house or talk to the deputies, who ended up leaving because no crime had been committed.
Days later, hours before the fire broke out, deputies conducting the second welfare check arrived just in time to watch Hannah drive away. They followed him onto Los Osos Valley Road and attempted to pull him over, but Hannah ignored them and continued driving, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said previously.
Hannah never exceeded the speed limit, and the deputies decided to terminate their pursuit for public safety reasons. It is believed that Hannah drove to Cambria before returning home.
About 3:45 p.m. on Feb. 8, two battalion chiefs and five Cal Fire engines were called to Woodland Drive for a house fully engulfed in flames. When they arrived, they found Hannah in the backyard, suffering from serious burns to his body. Cipolla said Hannah physically resisted emergency personnel before he was successfully detained and taken via ambulance to a local hospital. He was airlifted to Fresno.
Firefighters contained the fire by 5 p.m. Though the home was destroyed, no other homes suffered damage and no one else was injured.
A dozen witnesses, including Hannah and several sheriff’s deputies and emergency responders, testified during the trial, according to court records.
Hannah’s attorney, Jim Royer, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.