A man who was convicted of strangling his sexual partner then attempting to burn his body in 2014 has been arrested again, this time a suspect in at least one of the many recent arsons to strike the Castro.
In recent months, the Castro District has been the site of multiple arsons, including a three-vehicle torch job in November, four more carsons in December, another blaze a few days later, and a string of at least three fires on January 19. The many fires prompted SFFD arson task force head Capt. John Darmanin to say Monday that “The way the fires were set was similar and it’s very possible the same person could have set the fires. We’re not leaving that possibility unnoticed.”
And now, in a surprising twist, KQED is reporting that the San Francisco Police Department has arrested a suspect familiar to those who follow the city's more bizarre crimes — David Munoz Diaz, the man convicted of involuntary manslaughter, arson, mutilating human remains, and destroying evidence in 2014 for the slaying of a man during a sexual encounter in Buena Vista Park, after which he caught the body on fire.
Diaz, who was in SF County Jail since his arrest in the death case in the summer of 2011, was released in September, 2014. In November, he was sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison, but remained free due to time served and good behavior.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, at Diaz's sentencing hearing, Judge Donald Sullivan dismissed Diaz's arson conviction.
After considering that keeping it would require Diaz's "lifetime registration as an arsonist," which would "mar his character." He acknowledged Diaz's youth, that he had no prior criminal history, and indicated he agreed with Lilien that "the likelihood of [Diaz] committing such crimes in the future" is "extremely unlikely."
KQED reports that Diaz was arrested Wednesday night near his home on 18th Street near Noe Street, after investigators recognized him in video evidence from one of the previous fires.
He is presently being held at San Francisco County Jail facing three felony charges, including first-degree arson, possession of arson materials, and burglary.