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Man sentenced for Thornton condo fire

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An Adams County judge sentenced a man late last month to 160 years in prison for multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder and arson in the fire that destroyed a Thornton condominium complex last March.

Martin Castruita Espinoza, 22, received the sentence after starting a fire March 6 that engulfed the Corona Village Condominium complex at 8760 Corona St., destroying 18 condominiums in two buildings. Though there were no deaths, two residents and two firefighters were injured in the fire, and a number of residents lost their pets. 

Investigators concluded that the fire was intentionally set. 

An Adams County jury convicted Espinoza in August of 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder (F2), 23 counts of first-degree arson (F3), three counts of third-degree assault (M1) and 10 counts of reckless endangerment (M3).

Deputy District Attorney Tyler Sande told the court that Espinoza has never taken responsibility for his actions. 

“There is no remorse,” he said. “Ten people almost lost their lives in this fire. If this had taken place at night, it could have been far worse.” 

Sande told the court that families showed up for weeks after the fire in desperate hope that their missing pets had survived and would turn up.

Adams County District Judge Francis Wasserman sentenced Espinoza to 16 years in prison on 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder, totaling 160 years.

The judge said the other sentences would be concurrent to the 160 years for attempted first-degree murder because Espinoza will not be eligible for parole for the rest of his natural life. He sentenced Espinoza to 8 years in prison on the first-degree arson counts to be served concurrently. He sentenced him to a total of 8 years in prison on the three third-degree assault counts, also to be served concurrently. The reckless endangerment convictions merge with the attempted murder counts for sentencing purposes.

Wasserman told the victims that filled the courtroom for the sentencing hearing “there is nothing I can say to assuage the trauma the victims have endured because of the insensitive criminal acts of the defendant.”