Local judges say they are unable to hear case for Spring Fire suspect

COSTILLA COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The man accused of starting the Spring Fire is now facing 141 counts of arson. Jesper Joergensen is being held responsible for the mounting damage from Colorado's third largest wildfire in history.

Joergensen had his first court hearing on Thursday. He listened in over the phone and didn't appear in person, but members of the public did.

"I think it's some other kind of validation of who did it and again a face," Maria Mondragon-Valdez said after sitting in on the hearing. "We know him, looking you in the eye and you looking him in the eye. I think that's important."

Joergensen is being held in the Costilla County jail but didn't make it to the courtroom which is no more than half a block away. The list of charges includes all the homes and property burned. All judges in this local district asked to be taken off the case, saying they had a coworker who was a victim of the arson and could not be impartial adding another challenge moving forward.

"Hopefully he gets convicted and they make him pay for it in some way shape or form," resident Matthew Rogers said.

Joergensen will appear by phone again for his pre-trial hearing in August. 11 News asked why he is not making an in-person appearance but have not heard back.