Arson suspect back in court, briefly

Updated: 2014-01-16 11:17

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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Court appointed public defender asks for more time to prepare - Feb 12 next date

TheFBI was in a court hearing on Wednesday morning for Feng Yan, the39-year-oldChinesenational suspectedofanarsonattackon the Chinese consulate in San Francisco on New Year's Day.

Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and foot shackles, the long-haired suspect walked into court accompanied by a US marshal and stood calmly beside his public defender, Steven Kalar.

During the brief hearing, the man never turned back to look for his family members in the court. According to the FBI, he has permanentresidencystatusintheUnitedStatesand lives in Daly City outside of San Francisco.

Mary Ma, a Mandarin translator hired for the suspect, told China Daily on Wednesday that the next hearing is scheduled for Feb 12, as some discussion of a "release" is on-going and the court-appointed public defender has asked the court for more time to read all documents provided by prosecutor.

"He looks better this time and has washed his hair," said Vicki Ellen Behringer, a California court artist. "Unlike most Asians, he has deep-set eyes and high nose bridge."

In the first hearing last week, her impression of the suspect was that he was "tired, messed up, skinny" but also "calm".

According to the FBI, Feng Yan splashed two buckets of gasoline on the main entrance of the consulate and then set fire to it on the night of New Year's Day. Two days later, he surrendered to local police by calling 911.

Some earlier media reports said that the FBI made a mistake with his name, which should be Feng Yanfeng.

On Wednesday morning, the posting outside the courtroom showed no correction of suspect's name.

Peter Lee, a spokesperson for the FBI in San Francisco, told China Daily "only the two syllables were released" and that's all he had at the moment.

Although no one was hurt in the attack, the fire left the consulate damaged and threatened the safety of the neighborhood.

Consulate spokesman Wang Chuan urged the US "to learn from this incident and to take effective measures to ensure the safety and dignity of Chinese diplomatic and consulate missions and staff in the US".

 Arson suspect back in court, briefly

Vicki Ellen Behringer, a California courtroom artist with 23 years' experience, shows her illustration of Wednesday's hearing on an arson attack targeting the Chinese consulate in San Francisco on Jan 1. Chen Jia / China Daily

(China Daily USA 01/16/2014 page1)