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VIDEO SHOWS ARSON AT HOME, PROSECUTOR SAYS.

Byline: Alex Dobuzinskis Staff Writer

PASADENA - A La Crescenta man twice set fire to his neighbor's house and was caught in the act the second time by a video surveillance system, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.

But the defense attorney for Gary Glazier countered during his closing argument that the retired engineer had no motive to start any fires and that the prosecution lacked proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Glazier, 63, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, arson, burglary and possession of an incendiary device. He remains jailed without bail.

If convicted of attempted murder, he faces up to four life sentences. A conviction on the other charges could result in 13 years and eight months in prison.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Robert Knowles said that on Feb. 22, 2004, gasoline was spread under the victims' home and a fire was started about 4 a.m.

``Somebody tried to light their house on fire,'' Knowles said. ``Somebody tried to light their house on fire while they were sleeping in it.''

Alfred Artsvelyan and his family escaped the first fire, which investigators later classified as arson, and the family moved out. While waiting to rebuild the home, they installed a video-surveillance system that caught the beam of a flashlight and a stream of liquid going from Glazier's property to the Artsvelyan home May 13, 2004, Knowles said.

About 10 minutes later, a pole emerged from the bushes on Glazier's side of the property line with something glowing at the end of it and was retracted, with no fire resulting, the prosecutor said.

About six minutes after that, the surveillance system caught an eruption of fire on the Glazier property, he said. A pole was extended back to the Artsvelyan home, this time igniting the residence.

``So there was a failed attempt, about a six-minute regrouping and then another attempt,'' Knowles said.

When Glazier was arrested, investigators found a tank, hoses, gloves and other material, with evidence of gasoline on them in the back of his pickup truck, Knowles said. A plastic pole, which was in two parts that could be connected, was found in the garage, and investigators suspected that it was the pole seen in the video.

Glazier is represented by high-profile attorney Robert Shapiro, who said there were other suspected arsonists in the area, and that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

``There is no motive in this case,'' said Shapiro, whose previous clients include O.J. Simpson. ``Mr. Artsvelyan hadn't talked to Mr. Glazier in over a year ... Anyone could have walked onto Mr. Glazier's side of the fence.''

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304

alex.dobuzinskis(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 17, 2005
Words:446
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