Wei Chu Hu sentenced for murder and arson in 2013 Nolita fire

Wei Chu Hu was sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison.

The man who set his own Spring Street apartment ablaze after an argument with his wife, killing a 66-year-old upstairs neighbor, was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years to life in state prison.

Wei Chu Hu, 47, pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to second degree murder and first degree arson in the Jan. 10 2013 five-alarm fire that enveloped the building and killed writer and translator Renee Lea Willems. She was found after the blaze on a fire escape, her body burned beyond recognition. Willems had lived at the building for 18 years was recalled by those who knew her as a charming and cultured woman, said a law enforcement source.

“The deadly blaze took the life of one of the building’s residents as she attempted to escape and destroyed the building, rendering it uninhabitable for dozens of residents for nearly two years,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “He will now serve a lengthy prison sentence for his devastating actions.”

Hu’s attorney could not be reached for comment.


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