Chinese national Tianzhao Feng, affectionately known as “Alex,” has been sentenced to a prison term of three years for the crime of arson, to which he pleaded guilty on February 17 this year.
The time he has served on remand will be counted in his sentence, a court source says.
The judge reportedly began the sentence at seven years, but her reduction was heavily influenced by “a most heart-wrenching mitigation plea by attorney Wendell Robinson,” the source tells REAL News.
In arriving at the new sentence, the presiding officer is said to have also factored in Feng’s guilty plea, as well as other mitigating factors detailed in the social-inquiry report – such as the cruel and inhumane treatment and poor living conditions the accused was undergoing at the time he committed the offence.
The judge is said to have commended the social worker for the in-depth and thorough report submitted, which also highlighted mental and medical issues Feng faced.
Feng set fire to the popular supermarket XPZ, located on Factory Road, on June 1, 2021, and then went into hiding for several days before turning himself in to the police.
Despite his admission of arson, he enjoyed the sympathy of scores of residents who knew him, as well as local co-workers, many of whom insisted he was a gentle person who had been severely mistreated.