Arson Suspect's Mother Fights Extradition
Posted by Damian Kelly on Jul 10, 2012 - 10:13:29 PM
WEST HOLLYWOOD—The mother of Hollywood Arson suspect Harry Burkhart wants her extradition order to Germany to be suspended on humanitarian grounds.
Reports indicate Dorothee Burkhart, 53, was ordered in May by a Los Angeles federal judge to be sent back to her native country to face trial on a host of fraud charges.
In a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed June 27, attorneys for Burkhart argued that the German extradition request is not supported by competent evidence, that she is needed as a material witness in the arson case pending against her son, and that her return to Germany would result in persecution and her physical harm by "powerful right-wing extremists."
Dorothee Burkhart. Photo courtesy of Maggie's Notebook
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick did not agree as he rejected the request and approved Burkhart’s extradition. Eick previously denied a request by her son Harry to suspend his mother’s extradition to allow her to assist with his defense in his upcoming arson case. Her son is accused of setting dozens of fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley last New Year's weekend.
Dorothee Burkhart can also appeal to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to suspend her return to Germany.
Burkhart describes herself as the sole link between her "autistic, mentally ill" son, Harry, and "the outside world." Her arrest pending extradition is thought to have sparked the arson rampage allegedly committed by her only child.
Dorothee Burkhart is accused in Frankfurt of subletting apartments that she did not own, failing to pay rent and security deposits on other locations, and defrauding a cosmetic surgeon out of about $10,000 for breast augmentation surgery for which she never paid, according to court papers.
A trial date has not been set for Harry Burkhart, who faces 100 felony charges related to 49 blazes set between December 30 and January 2. Most of the fires began in automobiles but often spread to homes in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and surrounding areas. His bail has been set at $7.5 million.