A 23-year-old New York man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison on charges he used his mobile phone to film his boss set fire to a homeless man sleeping in the walkway outside a Brooklyn deli where the two men worked.The crime of Lorenzo Fonerin, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, was "horrific and inhumane."
"With this abhorrent behavior, he relinquished the right to be out in the streets of Brooklyn and today's sentence ensures that outcome," Thompson said in a statement.
The victim, Tasheen Hand, 38, was induced into a coma for two weeks and suffered burns throughout 30 percent of his body. The victim's mother told the sentencing judge during Friday's hearing that her mentally disabled son now has "alligator-like skin" and is stared at by people,according to local news accounts.
The defendant filmed his boss dousing the victim with lighter fluid and using a box of matches to start the flames. The sleeping victim was awoken by onlookers.
"The defendant poured water on my son, but I would have been happier if he just asked him to leave or just used that same cellphone to call police," the mother told Justice Deborah Dowling. "Pouring water didn't save him."
The defendant, who encouraged his boss, apologized in court. He was convicted of assault in March for standing by as his boss ignited the sleeping homeless man.
"I am very sorry. I hope he gets better," Fonerin said through a Spanish-language interpreter, according to the New York Daily News.
Fonerin's boss, Suliman Ahmed, is expected to go on trial later this year in connection to the September, 23, 2012 crime.
Prosecutors sought 20 years for Fonerin.
Fonerin's attorney, David Chidekel, said that the "foolishness of taking a video doesn't warrant the sentence requested."