The man suspected of setting fire to a popular Fresno restaurant will remain in the Kings County Jail for allegedly assaulting and threatening a family member in Lemoore.

Fresno Fire Department investigators arrested Justin Silva, 32, of Fresno, on Jan. 19 in connection with the Dec. 20 arson fire at Livingstone’s Restaurant and Pub. The blaze caused major damage to the longtime Tower District establishment.

Silva was booked into the Fresno County Jail for charges of arson and burglary. He was released Jan. 20 on a $15,000 bond. Court records show the Fresno County Superior Court issued a warrant for Silva’s arrest after he missed his arraignment on Feb. 2.

Kings County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mark Bevens said Silva missed the court date because he had been arrested near Lemoore on Jan. 30. During the drive to the jail, Bevens said, Silva made comments that he had to be in court in Fresno County because he had been accused of setting fires in Fresno.

“We knew about the fire at Livingstone’s but we didn’t know it was the same Justin Silva,” Bevens said.

Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes said Silva’s charges in Fresno County will remain on hold until he has completed his court proceedings in Kings County.

“We’ve agreed with Fresno County that we’re going to keep him here,” Fagundes said.

On Jan. 30, deputies went to a report of a suspicious U-Haul truck that was stuck in the mud behind a home on Lacey Boulevard, west of Lemoore. Bevens said Silva was walking out of the home, followed by his grandmother who asked deputies for help.

Bevens said Silva apparently entered the house by prying open the back door. Once inside, he began collecting random items he claimed were his. When his grandmother confronted him, Bevens said, Silva knocked her over, dragged her and hit her multiple times. Silva also reportedly threw wine in his grandmother’s face and pulled the phone cord out of the wall to prevent her from calling 911.

Several items had been loaded into the U-Haul truck when deputies arrived, Bevens said.

Silva was booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of multiple charges. He has since been charged with burglary, elder abuse, kidnapping, possession of stolen property, making criminal threats, vandalism, damaging a wireless communication device and committing a new offense while released on bail.

Silva pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday. He remains in custody with bail set at $100,000. His next Kings County court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

Fagundes said the decision to have Silva answer first to the more recent charges was based on the fact that he was already in Kings County custody.

“We have [Silva] here, so we’re going to keep him here until he’s done,” Fagundes said.

Fagundes said there are several ways to handle a defendant facing criminal charges in multiple counties. In some cases, the order of the cases may depend on which county has the most serious charges. Other defendants may be transported back and forth to attend court dates in both jurisdictions.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com.


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