Judge delays decision on bail for mother of L.A. arson suspect

Story highlights

  • Dorothee Burkhart is fighting extradition to Germany
  • She says she should be freed on bail to help defend her son, arson suspect Harry Burkhart
  • Harry Burkhart is accused of setting dozens of fires that unnerved the Los Angeles area
A decision was delayed Friday by a federal judge considering a bail request for the mother of a man suspected of setting dozens of fires in Los Angeles.
Dorothee Burkhart, 53, is fighting extradition to Germany, where she is wanted on charges of fraud and embezzlement. She argued in court that she should be freed on bail while that process moves forward so she can assist her son's attorneys in preparing his defense. Burkhart says her son, Harry, is autistic, mentally ill and unable to communicate with the outside world without her assistance.
Harry Burkhart, a German national, has entered a plea of not guilty to charges that he is responsible for setting a string of fires that terrorized the communities of Hollywood and West Hollywood in December and early January.
Prosecutors say the spree of intentional blazes, which unnerved much of the city, was motivated by Burkhart's "rage against Americans" after his mother was arrested on an international arrest warrant. The fires began after police arrested his mother during a traffic stop December 28, authorities have said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Eick announced that he would issue a ruling on Dorothee Burkhart's case later Friday or early next week.