FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 12, 2015

Brooklyn Man Who Videotaped Alleged Accomplice Setting Fire To Sleeping Homeless Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Defendant Caught on Cell Phone Video Inciting Attack

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Cypress Hills man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a 2012 attack against a mentally-ill homeless man who was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire as he slept in the doorway of an East New York deli.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant took part in a horrific and inhumane crime against a defenseless victim. With his abhorrent behavior, he relinquished the right to be out in the streets of Brooklyn and today’s sentence ensures that outcome.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Lorenzo Fonerin, 23, of 246 Ridgewood Avenue, in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. He appeared today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling, who sentenced him to 15 years in prison following his conviction of first-degree assault on March 13, 2015 after a jury trial. He is expected to be deported after finishing serving his sentence.

District Attorney Thompson said that, according to evidence at trial, Fonerin and alleged accomplice Suliman Ahmed were working in a deli on the corner of Pennsylvania and Cozine Avenues in East New York just past midnight on September 23, 2012. The two targeted a homeless man named Tasheen Hand, who was sleeping by the entrance of the store.

A cell phone video taken by Fonerin shows Ahmed allegedly dousing lighter fluid on the unsuspecting victim as the defendant eggs him on, saying “Do that.” A subsequent cell phone video depicts how Ahmed allegedly lights a book of matches and drops it on the victim, starting a fire. Hand can then be seen, according to evidence presented in court, waking up and running around aflame for more than a minute. The defendant eventually threw water on him to help put out the fire.