MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon "career criminal" Jawwad Abdul Halim was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony counts of second-degree arson and tampering with a witness in March, officials said.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 12, Halim started a fire in an apartment building on Millington Street in Mount Vernon, forcing police to evacuate the building, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said.
The Mount Vernon Fire Department extinguished the fire, which trapped three individuals. Halim set the fire to retaliate against one of the three, said law enforcement officials.
Surveillance cameras captured and recorded the activity outside the building, leading detectives to launch the investigation that resulted in the arrest, police said.
While in Westchester County Jail, the DA said Halim contacted and threatened a witness involved with the case. He faced a maximum of 25 years in state prison for his crimes.
“Witnesses are crucial to the prosecution of criminal cases. This defendant, a career criminal, jeopardized the lives of dozens of people by setting a fire in an occupied building in an attempt to intimidate,” DiFiore said. “Then, after he was arrested, continued the behavior by threatening a witness not to testify.”
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