Charges dropped against man over Santa Margarita fire

January 10, 2020

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office has dropped its case against an elderly sex offender who was accused of starting a 2017 fire in rural Santa Margarita that destroyed the ranch of “Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki. [Tribune]

David Lynn Macagni

The Hill Fire ignited on June 26, 2017, off Park Hill road and La Estrada east of Santa Margarita. The blaze burned 1,598 acres and destroyed a total of four structures, including Galecki’s ranch, which burned to the ground.

Galecki used the ranch as a getaway home, and the actor was frequently seen inside establishments in Santa Margarita and Pozo.

Initially, Cal Fire reported the blaze was started by a vehicle fire that spread into vegetation. But, prosecutors later charged David Lynn Macagni, 77, with a single misdemeanor count of recklessly causing a fire of a structure or forest.

Macagni’s trial was due to begin next week. But at a readiness conference on Wednesday, the prosecution filed a motion to dismiss the case because of insufficient evidence.

If Macagni had been convicted, he would have faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to the Megan’s Law database, Macagni lives on Park Hill Road in Santa Margarita. In 1964, Macagni was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.

In the aftermath of the blaze, Galecki posted a photo on Instagram of himself hugging a firefighter, and he thanked “the brothers and sisters of Cal Fire.” Galecki announced in 2019 that he was selling the rural Santa Margarita property.


Why the heck is the actor even part of the story? The accused had the charges over his head for two and a half years, not because there was evidence of guilt, but because he was an easy target due to his past conviction from fifty over years ago… He had done his time… SHould not have hung those charges over his head when they never had the evidence in the first place… Abuse of authority…


If you ever took a class or course on journalism, you’d understand it localizes and enhances the story. Not to mention, it was the actor’s property?


Yeah, I get it without the course, but it is still weak… Yes, I believe one of the properties effected was the actor’s… Maybe I am just to critical of how it reads…. Though you were point on in your reply…


Same old story guilty until proven innocent.