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Promoter charged in stalking case

January 10, 2006|By By Andrew Edwards

Organizer of New Year's event allegedly started a fire on woman's doorstep.The event promoter behind last week's "Orange County New Year's Eve" celebration in Costa Mesa has been charged with stalking an ex-girlfriend and committing arson at her home.

Richard Eugene Goodwin, 36, of Laguna Beach was arraigned in December, Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Schroeder said. Goodwin has been charged with two counts of felony arson, stalking and making annoying phone calls. If convicted on all charges, Goodwin could face as much as 13 years in prison, Schroeder said.

Prosecutors allege that around August, Goodwin started harassing a 21-year-old woman whom he had dated. In December, the woman moved to a new home in an attempt to hide from Goodwin, but he reportedly found her home and started a fire on her doorstop. Schroeder said she could not reveal where the woman lives.

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According to the district attorney's office, Goodwin started the fire by igniting a towel that had been soaked in a flammable liquid. Neighbors reportedly put out the fire with a pillow and water before it could cause serious damage.

Goodwin pleaded not guilty to the charges Dec. 13 while in custody and was released on bail on Dec. 21, Schroeder said. Monday, Goodwin declined to comment except to say he expected his company's New Year's Eve event would be held in the future.

"We think it's safe. The 'Orange County New Year's Eve' is an entity of its own," Goodwin said. "We're hopeful that this will blow over."

Goodwin's company, Richard Goodwin Presents, held its inaugural New Year's Eve event less than two weeks ago. The event was held at the Orange County Fairgrounds, and while the event was being planned, Goodwin said he hoped it would become a local tradition for years to come.

Orange County Fair communications director Lisa MacDonald said it would be up to Goodwin's company to begin discussions leading to any future New Year's Eve events at the fairgrounds.

* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be reached at (714) 966-4624

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