Attorney Pleads Guilty to Setting Laguna Hills Home on Fire, DUI

Abandoned Building Fire Department Burn

Photo: Getty Images

NEWPORT BEACH (CNS) - An employment law attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving and setting his Laguna Hills home ablaze and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but will avoid time behind bars through participation in a residential and outpatient program.

Richard Edward Quintilone II, 49, accepted a plea deal that dismissed three felony charges of arson and vandalism in exchange for admitting a misdemeanor count of recklessly causing fire to an inhabited structure. For that case he was placed on one year of informal probation and ordered to pay restitution to the victim, but it wasn't clear how much, according to court records.

Quintilone can avoid serving the six months in jail if he completes 90 days in an inpatient program and 90 days in an outpatient program, according to court records.

Quintilone also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood-alcohol content exceeding the legal limit of .08%. In that case he was placed on five years of informal probation and ordered to participate in an 18-month multiple offender alcohol program and participate in the residential and outpatient program.

Deputies were called at 10:30 a.m. March 31, 2021, to 27716 Greenfield Drive, near state Route 73 and the border with Laguna Niguel, regarding a dispute, said Jaimee Blashaw, public affairs manager for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's officials said Quintilone had been accused of throwing a boat propeller through the windshield of a vehicle in the neighborhood. When deputies tried to talk to him, he ran back into the house, and deputies spotted flames.

Quintilone refused to come out, prompting deputies to go into the house in an unsuccessful effort to find him and evacuate neighbors from their homes due to the fire.

Orange County Fire Authority firefighters went into a "defensive posture," having to pour water on the flaming house from a distance while deputies suspected Quintilone was barricaded inside, said Gail Krause, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department.

Firefighters managed to put the fire out and keep it from spreading, but it caused significant damage to the house.

Neighbors alerted deputies to the suspect's whereabouts on a nearby street about 12:20 p.m. and he was arrested without incident, Krause said.

Court records show Quintilone was convicted of domestic violence in January 2006, but the misdemeanor charge was eventually dismissed in 2009 as part of a state law that allows for the expunging of convictions if a defendant clears probation.

According to the State Bar, which placed the attorney on probation in 2007, on May 14, 2005, Quintilone and his wife "returned to their home after having spent the evening at a party with friends. Both (Quintilone) and his wife had been drinking at the party. Thereafter, (Quintilone), in his inebriated state, physically assaulted his wife."

Quintilone claimed that "the violence started as a result of sexual foreplay, which was rougher than usual and then grew out of control," according to the State Bar. "Ultimately, (Quintilone's) wife ran to a neighbor's house and the police were called."

Quintilone is facing a civil trial on a wrongful termination claim. That trial is scheduled for December.

Attorney Laurel Holmes alleged in her lawsuit that she was fired after raising concerns about violations of COVID-19 protocols in the office when Quintilone insisted attorneys on staff work in the office instead of remotely.

Holmes alleged that after he came into the office sick with symptoms of COVID-19, knowing he had contact with someone infected with the virus, she became infected as well as her 7-month-old child and diabetic husband.

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