Man charged with 9 arson fires in Riverside County

RIVERSIDE — Prosecutors say a 22-year-old man has been charged with nine arson fires and is suspected of starting dozens more in Riverside County.

Corey Marchand pleaded not guilty to nine felony counts in Superior Court on Thursday. He faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

A sheriff's deputy noticed Marchand while directing traffic at a small fire in Pedley last month and struck up a conversation.

Prosecutors say Marchand admitted to the deputy that he started the fire and agreed to write a letter of apology.

The deputy and arson investigators later connected Marchand to eight other fires.

He's being held on $5 million bail.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.