An NYU student caused a mattress fire where his 19-year-old friend was sleeping. As the burn of the flames was recorded on his cell phone, he sang eerily. The victim woke up momentarily at approximately 11 p.m. and attempted to put out the flames, but passed out.
Jaime Castano, 20, set the fire on August 23 at the 80 Lafayette St. dormitory. He filmed the scene and posted footage of it on Snapchat. Legal actions were delayed because NYU admittedly failed to report the crime until October 27.
Investigators told the Gothamist that the victim finally awoke at around 6 in the morning. When she did, the victim discovered holes and burn marks on the comforter and bed. She noted that there were burns on clothing and painful burn marks on her torso. Authorities added that Castano admitted to her that he set the comforter on fire, which was the direct cause of her burn marks.
The burn marks on the victim’s torso became infected.
On Tuesday, Castano was arraigned and his defense included placing blame on the burn victim.
Lawyer Alyssa Gamliel argued that the victim was a drunk and that she had been on a booze binge for days before and after the incident. She went on to explain that the victim had passed out on the night of the incident and, therefore, couldn’t prove that she didn’t take part in the crime.
According to the New York Daily News, Gamliel told the court, “I do not think she knows what happened or her participation in this, nor do I think the People will be able to prove that she was not sort of participating in some of this activity.”
She even went on to suggest that the victim’s wounds may have only become infected because of her “continued behavior of intoxication,” once more placing blame for the incident on the burn victim.
Jaime Castano faces the possibility of 25 years in prison if he is convicted of first-degree assault. He is also facing a charge of reckless endangerment. Castano claims that he left NYU voluntarily after the incident, but according to the school, they actually expelled him.
There was a third person in the room during that time but was unharmed by the mattress burn. Undoubtedly, that person will be called as a witness in the case.
On Friday, the case was adjourned to May.