Judge orders arson suspect to remain behind bars until trial

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Eric Christian appeared in court for the first time Tuesday. He’s accused of setting a family’s shed on fire Sunday morning. 

Firefighters manage to stop the flames from spreading, but it wasn’t enough. A portion of the home was damaged, and a shed completely gone.

The fire stemmed from years of alleged abuse and recent death threats – made towards his wife.

“He has vandalized her dad’s home. He vandalized her cars. He vandalized her work,” said Dawn Mills Mata. 

Dawn Mills Mata is a close friend of Cristian’s wife and Christian’s latest victim.

It was Mills Mata’s home that nearly burned down while her children were sleeping inside. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.

“That could have been my children, that could have been the rest of the house, that could have been our lives,” said Mills Mata. 

Christian’s wife filed a restraining order against him, but documents show he violated conditions several times within the past few months.

Investigators believe Christian became aware of the restraining order and went to Mills Mata’s home since he knew where she lived, and allegedly started the fire.  

On Tuesday, a judge ruled Christian will stay behind bars until his next court date. He’s facing charges of aggravated stalking and arson.