For a guy who nearly burned the last breath out of a homeless man by setting his cart on fire, five years seems like a short stint in the big house. (Pot growers can get such terms under federal law). But that was punishment handed down to Hector Manuel Medina this week after he admitted setting the blaze to the possessions of homeless man whose beard also got torched in the act.
The fire spread and Ruben Sandoval, 64, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his body, face and hands following the Jan. 2 violence at a Firestone auto shop in Santa Ana. Medina was apparently angry that Sandoval returned to the business after he had told him not to come back.
A judge negotiated the light sentence in exchange for the suspect's guilty plea, but prosecutors objected: They wanted the mechanic to receive 11 years behind bars. Medina pleaded guilty to a felony count of arson causing great bodily injury.
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-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.