Rochester man pleads guilty in 2020 St Paul arson case

Minneapolis (KROC AM News) – A Rochester man has pleaded guilty to his role in some of the destruction that took place in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd.

Jose Angel Felan, 35, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to arson.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis said earlier that Felan and his 23-year-old wife Mena Dhaya Yousif visited several businesses on University Avenue in St. Paul. Felan was charged with burning down a Goodwill retail store, Gordon Parks High School and the 7 Mile Sportswear store. They were burned down on May 28, 2020.

Prosecutors say that over the next week, Yousif aided and abetted Felan as he fled Rochester, Texas, before crossing the border into Mexico. Yousif traveled with Felan and helped him escape by destroying evidence and providing false information to law enforcement.

The two were arrested by Mexican authorities in February 2021 and returned to the United States to face prosecution. Yousif pleaded guilty last September to being an accomplice after the fact and is awaiting sentencing.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis:

According to court documents, on May 28, 2020, Jose Angel Felan, Jr., 35, set fire to the Goodwill retail store, Gordon Parks High School and the 7 Mile Sportswear store, all located on University Avenue in St. Paul. Following the arson attacks, Felan and his wife and co-defendant Mena Dhaya Yousif, 23, fled the state. Felan and Yousif traveled by car from Rochester, Minnesota, to Texas, where Felan had family. Eventually, Felan and Yousif fled the United States and fled to Mexico. On February 15, 2021, following an anonymous tip, Felan and Yousif were located and detained by Mexican immigration authorities and returned to the United States.

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