SLOHS grad convicted of arson sentenced to probation, could avoid jail time

Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 06, 2018

A San Luis Obispo High grad convicted of several charges related to a 2016 fire that destroyed the school’s computer lab learned Monday he could avoid jail time. 

That was determined by a San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge during sentencing Monday for Jacob Ruth. 

Ruth last year was found guilty of breaking into a concession stand and a classroom at the school. He was also convicted of setting a campus portable toilet on fire. However, the jury deadlocked 11-1 on the arson of the computer lab, which caused $1.8 million in damage.

Ruth entered an open plea to the court last month related to the computer lab arson, meaning there was no agreement from the district attorney’s office on the sentence.

The judge sentenced Ruth to five years formal probation, but if he violates his probation, he will then have to serve a six-year prison sentence, with credit for time served, according to the DA’s office.

He must also pay restitution, which is likely to exceed $1 million, officials said. 

Ruth was one of three arrested and charged in connection with the SLOHS computer lab fire.

The DA’s Office says the majority of the evidence pointed to him being the one who started the fire.

The other two charged pleaded no contest to the charges against them. Michael Benadiba was sentenced to a year in jail and five years’ probation.

Cameron Bratcher pleaded no contest and is awaiting sentencing. 

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