From Bad to Worse for Defendant Who Attempted to Set Living Room on Fire with Children Present


By Macy Lu

RIVERSIDE – The morning did not start off on the right foot for Eliseo Claro Thursday in Riverside County Superior Court when his private attorney failed to show up for his arraignment, despite previous confirmation.

And it got worse. When attempting to negotiate a lower bail, he discovered that the original amount of $90,000 had been raised to $213,000 by another judge last week because of the seriousness of his charges.

After the court decided to put his arraignment over for Monday due to the absence of his attorney, Claro piped up with a request for the judge.

“I don’t know if it’s possible…my bail is at $90,000 right now and I’m just wondering if you could lower [the bail]? I’m an U.S. citizen…I’ve never committed any crime before. This is my first time. This was all a misunderstanding,” he said.

The judge was reluctant to grant him his request, stating that he had no information “who requested the bail of the $90,000…whether it was submitted by a way of declaration to the judge or as an arrest warrant.”

At this point the deputy DA spoke up, alerting the judge of a PC §1269(c) on file – it allows a magistrate to raise bail if they deem the original bail is insufficient to protect a victim of domestic abuse—signed by another judge on Dec. 13 for $213,000.

“Especially in this particular case, given what happened, I think that is appropriate,” the DDA added. “I’m just very concerned about the allegations made in this case and this defendant’s potential to be released and for something very terrible to happen.”

He enumerated the charges to justify the validity of his concern: “[The defendant] got into an argument with his significant other. It prompted him at some point to collect property on the porch…douse it in lighter fluid and start it on fire.

“His significant other was able to put that fire out; however, he [then] goes into the living room area, where his two children are present. He begins to douse the living room area with lighter fluid and then puts a gun to his head in front of his family and threatens to kill himself.”

The children were only about three and six at the time of the incident.

In light of these allegations, the court issued a protective order barring the defendant from contacting both his significant other and the children.

Given the absence of his attorney this morning, Claro is scheduled to appear on Dec. 21 for a re-scheduled arraignment.

Macy is a junior from Orange County, CA studying Communications and English at UC Davis. She loves meeting people, reading books, and writing creatively.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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