A mentally ill Sleepy Hollow man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday after admitting to throwing a Molotov cocktail into a crowd of shoppers at an Algonquin grocery store.
Fabian Torres, 27, a former employee at Joe Caputo & Sons Fruit Market, was chased down outside the store at 100 S. Randall Road by a shopper Aug. 21, 2011, and held until an off-duty Carpentersville police officer stepped in.
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Authorities said Torres ran down an aisle in the store and tossed a homemade incendiary device into a crowd of about 30 people near the deli.
One person sustained minor injuries.
Torres was initially charged with aggravated arson, which carried a top penalty of 30 years in prison.
Michael Combs, chief of the criminal division for the McHenry County state's attorney's office, said prosecutors reduced the charge to attempted aggravated arson, for which Torres received the maximum sentence after pleading guilty but mentally ill.
Combs said the plea allows Torres access to psychiatric services and medication while in prison. He added that prosecutors discussed the plea and received support from store management and Algonquin Police.
"He is mentally ill and we did take that into consideration," Combs said. "The bottom line is you can't go around lighting businesses on fire. Someone could have been hurt or killed."
Assistant State's Attorney Dave Johnston said Torres made several statements to police after his arrest that didn't make sense.
For example, Torres said: he was mad at his uncle, but his uncle didn't work at Caputo's: He wanted to make a political statement; and wanted to have his arms cut off and replaced by robotic arms, Johnston said.
"He wasn't getting back at the people he wanted to get back at," Johnston said. "When the cops arrested him, he said all kinds of weird stuff."
Johnston said Torres worked at Caputo's from August 2011 through July 2012, but could not specify in what capacity.
Johnston said Torres decided he was sick of working and just stopped showing up and had received write-ups in the past for being late.
Torres has been held on $2 million bail since his arrest. McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer accepted the guilty plea.
Torres could be released from prison in about five years.
He receives credit for about 33 months at the McHenry County jail and under Illinois law, Torres can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior.