An Aug. 5 trial date was set today for an ex-con accused of having four Molotov cocktails with him when he allegedly told police he wanted to burn down a South Bay motel after being evicted.

Jon Ralph Dibble, 25, faces life in prison if convicted of premeditated attempted murder, possession of an incendiary device, burglary and attempted arson. The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday at his Superior Court arraignment. A July 16 readiness conference was set.

Jon Ralph Dibble, defendant in Chula Vista attempted arson. Photo credit:

According to Chula Vista police, someone at the motel in the 300 block of Broadway made an emergency call shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 30 and reported confronting a prowler. The caller said the man tied a metal cable around several doorknobs, as if to prevent people from from getting out of the rooms, Lt. Phil Collum said.

Arriving officers found Dibble in front of the motel office, apparently intoxicated and carrying a lighter and some beer bottles, some containing gasoline, with rags stuffed into the necks, Collum said.

Police determined Dibble, who allegedly also slashed a window screen, possibly in an attempt to break into a room, had been kicked out of the motel earlier the same night for being drunk and disruptive, according to Collum.

Dibble allegedly told police that he was “really (expletive) off” and wanted to “torch the place down.” He allegedly said he put the cable around the doorknobs to keep people inside while the motel burned.

– City News Service