Crime & Justice

Arsonist ordered to pay $8.9M for Hacienda Heights church fire

Gregory Yusuke Shiga
Gregory Yusuke Shiga

Los Angeles County prosecutors say a convicted arsonist has been ordered to pay $8.9 million in restitution and serve an 18-year sentence for setting a church fire in Hacienda Heights.

Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose says 35-year-old Gregory Yusuke Shiga was sentenced Friday for the fire at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

Investigators say the April 16, 2011, fire was started after saturated rolls of toilet paper were placed around the church during a break-in.

The walls and ceiling were also soaked with accelerant before the blaze was lit.

A jury found Shiga guilty of aggravated arson and other crimes on July 9.

Efforts to rebuild the church are still under way. In a June newsletter shared on the church's Facebook page, pastor Msgr. Tim Nichols noted that it will still be some time before ground is broken. A proposed site plan would place the new church adjacent to its former location.

YouTube video shows the extent of the fire damage.