A judge ordered Jon Ralph Dibble, 25, to stand trial on two counts of attempted murder and four counts of possession of incendiary devices that contained gasoline in an alleged scheme to torch a Chula Vista motel.
Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Francis Devaney also ordered Dibble to stand trial for attempted arson and burglary of the Riviera Motel at 372 Broadway in Chula Vista.
There was no fire as Dibble was arrested Sept. 30 by Chula Vista Police following a 1:55 a.m. 9-1-1 call by a resident who said he was trying to break into her room. Police discovered wire and cable that were attached to several motel room doors that might have locked occupants inside.
Police found that Dibble was carrying four beer bottles that contained gasoline and he had torn parts of his shirt to make a wick, according to testimony in his preliminary hearing. A Bic lighter was found in his pocket, said officer David Rivers.
Dibble had been living temporarily at the Riviera Motel, but a female guest complained about him knocking on her door at 2 a.m. and trying to get inside. The window screen was damaged in an attempt to get inside and the female guest eventually called 9-1-1.
“I told him not to bother the other guests or he would be asked to leave,” said Bernada Chairez, the motel’s general manager. “He said he wanted his money and he would leave. I thought he was a little drunk.”
Chairez told the judge she gave him back the night’s rent money, saying “it was his decision” to leave.
Veronica Maldonado testified she and her boyfriend discovered Dibble outside their room with cable wire wrapped around the door handle. She said Dibble was erratic and saying things that made no sense.
Rivers testified Dibble told him “these bottles are filled with gasoline” and he claimed he found them across the street. Rivers said those bottles were “Molotov cocktails” which could be lit and cause a fire wherever they are thrown.
“He said he was (expletive) off, and he wanted to torch the place,” said detective Ricardo Cruz. “He admitted putting the cable around three door knobs.”
Rivers said Dibble claimed his former girlfriend was being held against her will in one motel room. Cruz said Dibble told him his ex-girlfriend was kidnapped by two men possessed by demons and had tape across her face.
Cruz said Dibble claimed he could see his captive ex-girlfriend on his TV set in his room, even when he turned it off. Dibble said there was some type of “spiritual awakening” at the motel, the detective said.
Deputy District Attorney Ryan Karkenny said Dibble had targeted four rooms where he intended to throw the gasoline-filled bottles.
Devaney dismissed one attempted murder charge at the request of Dibble’s attorney, Damian Lowe, as one doorknob that had cable wrapped around it was an unoccupied room. “There needs to be a victim in the place” for a charge, said Devaney.
A trial date will be set April 10. Dibble has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $3 million bail.