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People v. Glazier

July 19, 2010


APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Michael E. Pastor, Judge. Affirmed. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BA327288).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klein, P. J.


Defendant and appellant, Gary Glazier, appeals his conviction of first degree attempted burglary (Pen. Code, §§ 459, 664).*fn1 Glazier used a paint sprayer filled with gasoline and a 20-foot long torch to set fire to his neighbor's house while he remained on his own property. Glazier claims he should not have been convicted of attempted burglary under the burglary-by-instrument doctrine.

We disagree. As interpreted by case law, the limitations on the burglary-by-instrument doctrine have no application in this situation. Glazier's conduct fell within the parameters of the doctrine. Therefore, substantial evidence supports his attempted burglary conviction under the burglary-by-instrument doctrine. The judgment is affirmed.


1. Glazier's Charged Offenses

On November 26, 2007, Glazier was accused, in an indictment returned in the Los Angeles Superior Court, of arson and related charges. The court dismissed several charges upon the defense's motions. The resulting accusatory pleading charged Glazier with arson of an inhabited structure or property (count 1; § 451, subd. (b)), attempted first degree burglary (count 2; §§ 459, 664),*fn2 and possession of flammable material (count 3; Pen. Code, § 453, subd. (a)).

2. Evidence Presented at Trial

On October 17, 2008, the matter came on for a jury trial. Viewed in accordance with the usual rule of appellate review (People v. Ochoa (1993) 6 Cal. 4th 1199, 1206), the evidence at trial established the following.

In 1998, Albert Artsvelyan, his wife, and their children moved into a house in La Crescenta, next door to defendant Glazier. The Artsvelyans made friends with many of their neighbors, but were unable to establish a friendly relationship with Glazier. They first attempted to introduce themselves to Glazier when they moved in by taking a bottle of wine to his house, but he would not answer the door even though the Artsvelyans could tell he was home. The Artsvelyans saw Glazier driving around the neighborhood, but were never able to talk to him. When Mr. Artsvelyan attempted to introduce himself again, after Glazier got into an argument with city workers outside his house, Glazier told him he was a bad neighbor and ordered him off his property.

In 2003, the Artsvelyans began an extensive remodel of their home, staying at a relative's house nearby when the construction interfered with their daily life. Even when sleeping at their relative's home, however, the Artsvelyans returned to their property regularly. On the night of May 11, 2004*fn3, the Artsvelyans met at their house, which was still under construction, to see the newly-installed swimming pool and pool lights. As they were admiring the lights and talking loudly, they heard Glazier's door slam and then all the lights in their backyard, including the pool lights, suddenly went out. Given Glazier's hostile attitude toward them, the Artsvelyans suspected he had shut off their power. The Artsvelyans returned to their relative's house for the night once Mr. Artsvelyan fixed the lights.

On May 12, Mr. and Mrs. Artsvelyan visited the house to check the mail, visit neighbors, and turn off the pool filter. Mr. Artsvelyan also checked surveillance video from multiple hidden cameras he had installed following several deeply disturbing events involving Glazier.*fn4 The Artsvelyans left the house to return to their relative's home at 11:30 p.m. Around 4:00 a.m., they were awakened and told their house was on fire. They drove to their house and found it ablaze. The events leading up to the fire were captured on video tape by the Artsvelyans's surveillance system.

The video tapes showed that at 3:15 a.m. a beam of light suddenly illuminated the Artsvelyans's house. This light came from Glazier's property, about 20 feet away. Shortly after, while standing on his own property, Glazier used an implement, subsequently determined to be a pressurized paint sprayer, to spray something into the crawlspace underneath the ground floor of the Artsvelyans's house. The crawlspace was open due to the remodeling project. Glazier then extended a long pole, with a flame burning on the end of it, into the crawlspace. The flame ignited what was later determined to be gasoline vapor, setting the house on fire. Glazier never left his own property during this course of events.

Police and firefighters responded to the fire. Glazier was detained and his property searched. A paint sprayer and its attachments were found in his truck. The paint sprayer contained burnt gasoline. Subsequent testing determined it was capable of spraying gasoline in the manner shown on the surveillance video when modified with hoses and other attachments found on Glazier's property. PVC pipes that were long enough to stretch from Glazier's property into the Artsvelyans's house were found in Glazier's garage.

3. Glazier's Conviction and Sentence

The jury found Glazier guilty as charged on all three counts. Glazier was sentenced to eight years in prison for the arson count. Sentences for the counts of attempted first degree burglary and possession of ...

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