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Mentally ill man suspected in Walgreens arson

Original post made on Oct 11, 2007

A 45-year-old parolee with a history of mental illness likely set the July 1 fire that destroyed the historic 1900 Walgreens building at 310 University Ave. in downtown Palo Alto, according to court records released Monday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1:44 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by Brock
a resident of University South
on Oct 11, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Geeze. Please re-open the sanitariums. For the grace of god.

Posted by Joel
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2007 at 8:12 am

Is no one putting 2 stories in the paper together? The Walgreen's arson suspect and the East Palo Alto man who was shot are the same age and have the exact same name. Is this coincidence or are they the same person?

Posted by Dubious
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 12, 2007 at 9:47 am

Can we say "fall guy"? He's clearly wacko and can take the rap for the real perps. It's great that the only "witness" is another homeless man.

Posted by Peter
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:14 am

welcome to modern-day america, where the only way to get some help is to burn something down.

Posted by just thinking
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:35 am

In case you didn't notice, Williams wasn't referred to as "homeless", in fact the article states evidence was recovered in his bedroom at his parents home.

Joel - I could find a reference to Williams being shot, but PAW did report someone with the same name in San Mateo County Jail on charges related to foothills fires.

Posted by Ben W
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:47 am

Peter raises a good point. Do you think they'd fix the streets in front of my house if I burned wodn city hall?

Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm

It's interesting how the homeless problem comes around and goes around. The whinos and bums and crazies used to be kicked out of the cities to the small towns. Now the small towns don't have much of a problem anymore, but the cities do. With San Francisco about to crack down, maybe they will be back in the towns again.

Instead of kicking the problem around, there should be federal money to house the unhoused. However, and this is where I completely disagree with the homeless advocates, they should be COMPELLED to take what is offered. There should be no chronic homeless in America. Giuliani got it done in NYC. It IS possible.

Posted by trust
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 12, 2007 at 4:59 pm

cant always trust easy explanations from police. people have been accused cause theyre african american men. police actually write false reports and LIE about so called ''weapons'' they find, if you call them on it , they give some snide comment , mocking what you say. karma will fix that.

Posted by Answer
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2007 at 2:40 am

Yep, that’s what the police do, they all get together and come up with an innocent man to blame it on. This time Palo Alto PD, a force of 100, convinced the entire ATF National Response Team to blame it on poor Donald Williams, another innocent black man targeted by the conspiring police. So what that he was on parole, because what he got convicted of was probably just another police scheme, right? So what there was DNA evidence in this case that isn’t proof...well actually it is but it's not like there was an eyewitness in this case...well actually there was. It's not like he was arrested for any other arson...wait he was arrested in the San Mateo foothills arson. He as let go in that one due to lack of evidence but I am sure Trust and other likes him have some conspiracy theory for that to. It would seem to me they arrested the right man even in the San Mateo case but because we are a nation of laws and Palo Alto PD (and most other agencies I know of) are the good guys, they let him go when directed to by the DA's office. Nah...Trust is probably right; this is all one big conspiracy to keep the black man down. Oh wait, the lead PAPD investigator and PAPD press officer for the case (Moore and Brown) are both black. Oh well, I am sure Trust can explain that for us....

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