Crime & Justice

Man pleads no contest to arson in 2014 Los Angeles inferno

An arson team investigates the scene after an early-morning fire consumed a seven-story apartment complex that was still under construction in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
An arson team investigates the scene after an early-morning fire consumed a seven-story apartment complex that was still under construction in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A 58-year-old man has pleaded no contest to igniting a huge inferno in downtown Los Angeles that destroyed a block of apartments under construction and heavily damaged nearby office buildings.

Dawud Abdulwali entered the plea Monday to a charge of arson of a structure, and he was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Joy Roberts says the plea was negotiated.

The December 2014 blaze gutted the seven-story Da Vinci apartment complex and blew out windows in adjacent towers. Damage was estimated at $100 million.

A witness testified at a preliminary hearing that a week later, Abdulwali said he set the fire because he was angry about the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.