Grace Cathedral arson plot charges "overblown"
Paul David Addis
By Ari Burack
December 20, 2007
The attorney for a San Francisco man accused of attempting to
set fire to Grace Cathedral one Sunday night in October said today
outside San Francisco Superior Court he was confident his "eccentric"
client would not be convicted of "overblown charges."
Paul David Addis, 35, remains in custody on felony charges of
attempted arson, possession of explosives and possession of incendiary
devices, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
He appeared briefly in court this morning to schedule a Jan.
4 date for a preliminary hearing on accusations that, on Oct.
28, his backpack laden with fireworks, he intended to ignite the
Though the consequences of the charges are potentially very serious
-- a maximum eight years in prison, according to the district
attorney's office -- public defender Tal Klement said Addis' intentions
"He's an eccentric guy," Klement said outside the courtroom.
"He attracts a lot of attention."
Klement dismissed the allegations as "overblown charges"
and was hopeful a plea agreement with prosecutors would be worked
"From my initial review of the evidence, it appears that
he was in possession of commercially available fireworks,"
Addis was found on the California Street side of the cathedral
around 11:40 p.m. with a backpack full of fireworks and other
items that "led officers to believe he might be up to something,"
Police were called to the area after Addis' neighbor reportedly
heard him say, "The cathedral isn't going to be there anymore,"
an officer said.
Klement said Addis' full taped statement to police was unfortunately
"So now we have four or five statements taken out of context,
with no actual tape," he contended.
"I think, when everything's put in context ... in the context
of Mr. Addis' personality and eccentricity, I think it will come
off as a lot less serious," Klement suggested.
Addis was earlier charged in Nevada for allegedly setting the
Burning Man effigy on fire before it was scheduled to be burned
at the annual festival held each Labor Day weekend in Nevada's
Black Rock Desert.
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.