LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed formal extradition papers for the mother of a man suspected of setting dozens of fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and San Fernando Valley over new Year’s weekend.
Dorothee Burkhart, 53, faces extradition to her native Germany, where she is wanted on fraud charges. The extradition request, which was received from German officials earlier this month, lists 17 fraud charges.
The number of charges discussed in a provisional arrest warrant filed last year for Burkhart listed 19 counts, but Germany has decided not to pursue two of the initial charges against Burkhart, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick set the extradition hearing in Los Angeles federal court for May 9.
Last week, Eick rejected a request to free Burkhart on bail pending extradition proceedings.
The woman has described herself as the sole link between her “mentally ill” son, Harry, and “the outside world.” her 24-year-old son faces trial on dozens of arson-related charges stemming from the series of fires that terrorized Los Angeles at the beginning of the year.
“I was the person who was the bridge between the outside world and the inside of his brain,” the mother said in broken English during a statement to Eick last week.
Her arrest pending extradition is thought to have sparked the arson spree allegedly committed by her distraught only child.
Dorothee Burkhart is accused in Frankfurt of subletting apartments that she did not own, failing to pay rent and security deposits on other locations, and defrauding a cosmetic surgeon out of about $10,000 for breast augmentation surgery for which she never paid, according to court papers.
The extradition process can take upwards of a year, federal prosecutors said. it took about four months to extradite former TV producer Bruce Beresford- Redman to Mexico to face charges for the killing of his wife — an unusually short amount of time because Beresford- Redman decided not to appeal the judge’s extradition order.
Harry Burkhart faces 100 felony charges related to 49 blazes set between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2. Most of the fires began in automobiles but usually spread to homes in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and surrounding areas.
His bail has been set at $7.5 million. A trial date has not been set.
< Prev next >