(CMR) Fernando Lopez Thompson (42), who set his neighbor's car ablaze in an ongoing dispute, was sentenced to 11 months in prison last Friday. Thompson was arrested earlier this year after colliding with a fire truck in an attempt to leave the scene of the incident.
He was charged with arson and causing harassment, alarm, or distress. He was sentenced to 11 months on both counts, with the sentences to run concurrently.
The court heard that Thompson and his neighbor had several quarrels over the years. In May of this year, the neighbor was at home when he heard a loud bang on his door. When he went to check, he saw his vehicle on fire.
CCTV footage showed that Thompson rang the victim's doorbell, cursing with a lighter in his hand. He was seen shortly after at the man's vehicle, which burst into flames.
He was reportedly heard at the location cursing that the victim needed to return to where he came from and threatened that the house would be next.
“I light that f… up, and next time it will be the house,” he said in the presence of police.
While leaving the scene, Thompson's car hit the rear of a fire truck. Police followed him and arrested him. He was taken to the detention center but did not allow the police to swab his clothes.
Thompson had 31 previous convictions, including for causing harassment and harm or distress, and was said to be under the influence of alcohol when he committed the crime. The court heard that since the death of his father in 2021, he has been drinking heavily to cope.
In sentencing him, Justice Cheryll Richards said it is plain from the defendant's history that he does not comply with court orders and needs monitoring. She started the sentence at nine months and increased it by 14 months because he committed the offense while on bail, had previous convictions, and committed the crime under the influence of alcohol.
The sentence was reduced by six months due to mitigating factors such as his remorse, and he was recently diagnosed with a medical condition. His early admission to the crime further reduced his sentence to 11 months on each count.
Justice Richards said while his illness has been considered, a custodial sentence was inevitable due to his history. She said he must learn to control his temper.