SF multi-time offender accused of setting homeless man on fire


David Munoz Diaz was arrested Thursday on suspicion of attempted murder and arson. Photo: SFPD / San Francisco Police Department

A San Francisco man with multiple convictions in arson cases is back in jail again after he was accused of setting a homeless man on fire, according to court records.

David Munoz Diaz, 28, was “captured on video lighting a homeless person on fire,” according to a motion to deny bail that prosecutors filed Tuesday.

The victim was sleeping when a passerby woke him up and helped put out the fire on his sleeve, which burned his arm. He declined medical treatment, officials said.

Diaz appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday. Judge Braden Woods ordered him held without bail, in line with the request of Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark.

Diaz was booked into County Jail on Thursday evening on suspicion of attempted murder and arson.

“This person should not be released under any circumstances,” said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. “That is why we moved to detain him without bail.”

Diaz was charged with murder in the June 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello after the victim’s body was found burned in Buena Vista Park. His attorneys had argued that Diaz accidentally killed Canul-Arguello while choking him during a sexual encounter at a hook-up spot, then ignited the fire to signal help.

A San Francisco jury cleared Diaz of the murder charge in 2014. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to time served.

The jury also convicted him of arson, but Judge Donald Sullivan set aside the conviction over prosecutors’ objections, saying Diaz had no previous criminal record and was unlikely to set another fire.

In January 2015, Diaz was charged with setting a fire at Up Hair salon in the Castro, which was owned by his boyfriend. He was also charged with setting a December 2014 fire that damaged the boyfriend’s car, and with possessing an incendiary device.

Diaz was found guilty, sentenced to a year of mandatory supervision in September 2016, and required to register as an arsonist.

Two months later, he was accused of attacking a man in San Francisco. Diaz pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in the case, in which he allegedly handcuffed the victim, bit part of his scalp off, cut his tongue and slit his nose, ear and lip. He was sentenced to five years of probation.

Chronicle staff writer Evan Sernoffsky contributed to this report.

Jenna Lyons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jlyons@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @JennaJourno


Leave A Reply