Girl accused of setting California wildfire ordered to have mental exam

Reuters

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Teen girl in juvenile court for Cocos Fire

Teen girl in juvenile court for Cocos Fire

Teen girl in juvenile court for Cocos Fire

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Teen girl in juvenile court for Cocos Fire

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A teenage girl charged with setting a California wildfire that burned 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and destroyed some 40 structures north of San Diego in May has been ordered by a judge to submit to a mental competency exam, prosecutors said on Friday.

The girl is charged with four counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of allowing a fire to escape her control in connection with the so-called Cocos Fire. She has been identified only by her first name, Cheyenne, because she is a minor.

Cheyenne, who could be required to stand trial as an adult, was ordered to undergo the mental competency evaluation by a judge during a hearing earlier this week, San Diego County District Attorney's spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said.

The judge ordered her to return to court on Aug. 20 for further proceedings in the case, which so far have been conducted in juvenile court and largely behind closed doors.

Prosecutors have declined to provide further information about the case because of the defendant's age.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Will Dunham)

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