The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Modesto Man Tried to Light Disabled 'She-Devil' on Fire

Modesto. For many Californians, the name of the Stanislaus County town brings to mind images of, well shall we say a none too sophisticated lifestyle. And apparently, much like the fair streets of Los Angeles, the lovely town of Modesto may also have violent and insane citizens. Good times, right?

Case in point:

Late last week, a disabled woman in a wheelchair was waiting to cross the street when Nathan Yarbrough approached her. Believing that she was the Prince of Darkness, a.k.a. Satan, he poured lighter fluid on her and then tried to light her on fire, reports Fox 40. Good times, indeed. Fortunately for 54-year-old Margie Padron, her fiancé and a good Samaritan chased the (likely insane) man away.

He wasn't done with his lighter fluid, however. He also doused his arresting officer's shoes. He was arrested for attempted murder, assault with a caustic chemical, and elder abuse.

Assault with a caustic chemical is a bit of a misnomer. The actual statute (PC 244) covers acid-flingin', caustic chemicals, and flammable substances, if the chemical was applied with the intent to injure the flesh or disfigure the body of that person. The punishment is two to four years in prison.

Yarbrough might have two possible defenses, however. The first is justifiable homicide. One is privileged to kill, or attempt to kill, if they reasonably believe that they are protecting their life or the lives of third parties. Satan is bad, right? Surely, Beelzebub was planning something if he took human form and was riding through Modesto in a wheelchair.

On a similar note, the law prohibits assaulting a "person". It says nothing about dousing deities (or fallen angels). His attorney really should run with this. It might make history.

On second thought, a nice, simple insanity defense may just work better.

Related Resources: