Y-105FM logo
Get our free mobile app

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Rochester, Minnesota, woman has been sentenced to three years of probation for helping her husband set fires during protests over George Floyd’s death and fleeing with him to Mexico.

A federal judge sentenced 24-year-old Mena Dhaya Yousif on Tuesday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. She had pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in connection with the May 28, 2020, fires.

Her husband, 36-year-old Jose Angel Felan Jr., was sentenced in October to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for setting the fires, including a fire at a St. Paul high school. Yousif is visible in surveillance video standing next to him as he was starting a fire at a Goodwill store.

Immigration authorities captured them in Mexico in February 2021. Prosecutors last month recommended Yousif serve two years on probation, noting that she has no criminal history and didn't help her husband or anyone else damage any property. Prosecutors also pointed out that she was several months into a high-risk pregnancy when her husband started the fires.

A third defendant in the high school fire, Mohamed Hussein Abdi, was sentenced to five years' probation almost a year ago.

Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, Chauvin Trial

It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.

George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression. 

After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.

A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe." 

The now historic response began the following day.