Williamsburg Mezuzah Torcher Gets 11 Years in Prison

BROOKLYN -

A man acquitted of setting mezuzos ablaze in a high-rise Williamsburg apartment building was handed down an unusually severe sentence of 11 years in prison for the single burglary count for which he was found guilty.

Ruben Ubiles had been found not guilty in December on arson charges. His lawyer had been hoping that would clear him from the burglary conviction since he was found to have not entered the premise with criminal intent.

But Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun ruled Thursday otherwise, the Daily News reported. He noted Ubiles had admitted he had gone into the Taylor St. building in April 2013 to smoke and get intoxicated.

A Hispanic Muslim with 52 prior convictions, Ubiles had initially been charged with a hate crime. But it was dropped, despite a online protest complaining about Erev Pesach fires.

Ubiles had been living nearby at his grandmother’s house and had frequent run-ins with the Shomrim, mostly for busting tires and burglaries.

“Given everything about this case and the defendant’s long criminal history, the minimum is not the appropriate sentence,” Chun said.