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Accused church arsonist to stand trial in summer of 2020

August Caprian is charged in connection with three fires at three churches in Merritt in January
Merritt church fire
The historic Murray Church in Merritt was destroyed by fire on Jan. 11, 2019.

A Nicola Valley man accused of setting fire to Merritt-area churches in a string of high-profile arsons early this year is slated to stand trial next summer.

Lawyers met in Kamloops provincial court on Tuesday to set trial dates for August Caprian.

Caprian, 38, is facing three counts of arson and a separate charge alleging he broke into a church with intent to commit arson.

Details of the allegations against Caprian are protected by a court-ordered ban on publication, but court documents show he is accused of setting fire to three churches — Murray United Church, Crossroads Community Church and Shulus Catholic Church — on Jan. 11, 2019.

Historic Murray United Church was destroyed by fire. Within days of the fires, investigators determined the blazes were suspicious in nature and likely related.

Caprian’s trial is scheduled to begin in Kamloops provincial court on June 3, 2020.