A homeless man admitted Wednesday to setting an acquaintance on fire in the woods by the Glen Cove train station last year in an attack that authorities said left the victim clinging to life.
German Umanzor, 38, told Nassau Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan during his guilty plea to attempted murder that he tried to kill victim Yony Guillen, 37, by setting him ablaze.
Prosecutor Stefanie Palma said in court Wednesday that the victim had to have both legs amputated and is likely to die because of infection.
Police arrested Umanzor about a month after the attack on Sept. 12, 2017, accusing him of starting a fire under the victim’s legs and feet while the man was sleeping on the ground and burning much of his lower body.
Guillen also was homeless and he and Umanzor had an argument earlier the same day, according to the Nassau district attorney's office.
Authorities said Umanzor used a lighter and dry leaves to start the fire, and police found the victim after another acquaintance called 911 after the assault.
Umanzor’s negotiated plea bargain includes that he’ll get a sentence of 17 years in prison and a commitment from prosecutors that they won’t seek to indict him for murder if Guillen dies.
Umanzor’s court-appointed attorney, Dana Grossblatt, said in an interview after her client’s plea that both he and the victim were living behind the train station.
“There’s no happy endings here for anybody. It was a sad situation,” the Jericho lawyer said. “I think considering the nature of the injuries and the possibility that the complainant could pass away, this was the best deal for my client.”
The judge told Umanzor, who is from Honduras, that it was likely he would be deported after prison.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement later Wednesday that Umanzor's plea ensured he would "pay a heavy price" for his "depravity."