Lorenzo Bonfiglio/ The Daily Pennsylvanian
Yesterday, the DP reported that alleged Castle arsonist Lorenzo Bonfiglio was given probation after pleading guilty to two charges: recklessly endangering another person, and criminal mischief — tampering with property. This marks the ostensible ending to a long legal process, in which Bonfiglio's preliminary and pretrial hearings were pushed back at least nine times and his 22 original charges were dropped to two.
Today, his case takes another surprising turn: President Barack Obama has announced that he will grant clemency to Bonfiglio. With only two days left in office, this will likely be one of his final acts in the Oval Office. This development comes among a string of sentence commutations for high profile prisoners including Chelsea Manning, an Army intelligence analyst responsible for a massive and consequential data leak, and Oscar Lopez Rivera, a militant and controversial Puerto Rican nationalist.
Bonfiglio, a U.K. native sentenced to three years probation, may seem an odd choice for clemency. Obama acknowledged this in an exclusive interview with UTB: "Yes, I believe he has a job and has still made it to Owls events. Yes, he managed to push his trial back time and time. But he's suffered enough."
"Lorenzo was accused of doing something illegal, but his actions hurt nobody. Some would even say that what he did was right. While I cannot weigh in on that debate, I can say this: Lorenzo Bonfiglio deserves to walk free," Obama said.
At press time, the White House has not responded to a request for comment on whether or not the kid who started the reply-all chain to the Thrive At Penn email will also be granted clemency.