Opening statements held for alleged Hollywood arsonist

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LOS ANGELES, USA - January 5: Multiple fires in the city. Henry Burkhart would have relationship with them and arson chain later this year in Los Angeles, Usa on January 4, 2012. (Photo by Juan Guerra / LatinContent / Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Opening statements have begun in the trial of a German man charged with setting nearly 50 fires in Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

City News Service says a prosecutor told jurors Monday that Harry Burkhart inflicted “unspeakable devastation and terror.”

Authorities say the 29-year-old Burkhart placed incendiary devices under cars in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley between Dec. 30 of 2011 and Jan. 2 of 2012.

Some of the car fires spread to homes.

Prosecutors say the arson spree was prompted by revenge after Burkhart’s mother was ordered extradited to Germany to face criminal charges. Prosecutors say he talked about wanting to “roast” America.

Burkhart has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

His lawyer told jurors that a sanity phase of the trial is likely.

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