Hector Manuel

Hector Manuel

SANTA ANA -- An automobile mechanic has been sentenced to 5-years in prison for setting a homeless man and his possessions on fire.

Hector Manuel Medina, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of arson causing great bodily injury with an enhancement for using a flammable fluid to light the fire, the Orange Count district attorney's office said.

Prosecutors objected to the five-year sentence.

They had sought an 11-year sentence based on the injuries suffered by Ruben Sandoval.

Medina, who worked at Firestone Complete Auto Care in Santa Ana, became angry with Ruben Sandoval when he saw the 64-year-old homeless man in the alley behind the repair shop back in January, according to the D.A.'s office.

Prosecutors say Medina doused Sandoval's shopping cart with gasoline and ignited it with a match.

Some of the accelerant splashed on Sandoval and the flames leaped from the cart, setting his beard on fire, according to the D.A.'s office.

Sandoval suffered second- and third-degree burns to his body, face and hands, and all of his possessions, including clothes, blankets and food, were destroyed.

He remains hospitalized and cannot breathe without a respirator, the district attorney said.