A convicted felon who ignited a fire that scorched a field in Murrieta last year pleaded guilty today to arson and was immediately sentenced to a two-year prison term.
Matthew Thomas Hulbert, 34, of Murrieta was arrested about an hour after setting the May 22 blaze near the intersection of Hayes Avenue and Kalmia Street, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.
The fire started about 6:20 p.m. and scorching roughly 1 1/2 acres of open space near a ranch property before firefighters got it under control.
Conrad said officers were immediately alerted to a suspicious man leaving the scene, heading into a residential area. With the aid of a bloodhound, they deployed a dragnet and located Hulbert at his residence on Hayes Avenue.
A possible motive for the arson was not disclosed.
According to court records, Hulbert has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a peace officer and animal cruelty.
He has served time in state prison within the last five years, records showed.