Serial arsonist convicted of setting fire near SLO Elks Lodge

July 21, 2023

Bradley Parrish


A San Luis Obispo man and serial arsonist faces at least 25 years in prison after a jury on Friday convicted him of intentionally setting a fire that burned a homeless camp near the SLO Elks Lodge.

On June 13, 2022, two good Samaritans who were at the Elks Lodge spotted smoke and then tried to extinguish an out-of-control fire burning in the nearby creek area, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. One of the men gabbed a shovel to put out the fire, but Bradley Norman Parrish confronted him, he testified this week in the Parrish’s arson trial.

Parrish, now 54, told the man he would fight him if he did not have a shovel in his hand, the witness testified. 

After being alerted to the blaze, San Luis Obispo firefighters arrived at the scene as the fire was rapidly spreading. Firefighters contained the blaze to 20 square feet and kept it from spreading to nearby motorhomes and trailers.

Police officers located Parrish close to the scene and arrested him. At the time, Parrish was on parole and probation for multiple arson convictions, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

At the conclusion of the weeklong trial, the jury convicted Parrish of aggravated arson of forest land.

Following the verdict, Parrish admitted that he had been convicted of arson on four separate occasions in the past. Three of Parrish’s prior convictions count as strikes under California’s three strikes law.

Parish now faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison. He currently remains in SLO County Jail, with his sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 19.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Committing arson – not good. Aside from that, I am trying to envision a fire contained to 20 s.f. Is that 10′ x 2′, 5′ x 4′? Or is my math way off?


I don’t know why, but I’m thinking about Trashcan Man in Stephen King’s The Stand. Just loves him some fire…

First time arsonists should be give a mandatory 10 years. If they do it again they should get life without the possibility of parole.

Finally got him housing, food, and medical care in the most expensive way possible.

I’m willing to bet that the majority of the people released from prison will commit another crime as that’s all they know how to do. There is no such thing as rehabilitation of criminals no matter how much you wish it would be

There likely exists such a thing as rehab of criminal behavior, not for all criminals, but for many. It probably starts with a sense of worth, sense of community, an applicable understanding of justice and how it relates to self and others, and an attainable goal of being valuable to others.

This is actually the exact opposite of what the evidence points to. It’s a harmful misconception.

Re-offending after prison is called “recidivism.” The majority of people do get re-arrested. For example, recent data shows that of people who were released in 2012, 71% of them were re-arrested within 5 years.

25 years to life, GOOD! Glad this gentleman is out of regular society.

He wont need anymore warming fires.

I was unaware that California’s Three Strikes Law was still in effect. It needs to be applied in many more cases.

It’s only applied to “serious” or “violent” felony charges nowadays.

Unfortunately, it’s been found that 3 strikes laws are associated with increased fatal assaults on law enforcement — since eligible 3-strikers know they are facing significant prison sentences.