For Immediate Release
Rochester Man Pleads Guilty to Arson of Multiple Buildings in St. Paul, Including Goodwill store and Gordon Parks High School
MINNEAPOLIS – A Rochester man who fled to Mexico to evade apprehension, and was later located and returned by Mexican authorities, has pleaded guilty to arson of two retail stores and a school during the summer of 2020, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats.
According to court documents, on May 28, 2020, Jose Angel Felan, Jr., 35, set fire to the Goodwill retail store, the Gordon Parks High School, and the 7 Mile Sportswear store, all of which were located on University Avenue in St. Paul. Following the arsons, Felan and his wife and co-defendant Mena Dhaya Yousif, 23, fled the state. Felan and Yousif traveled by car from Rochester, Minnesota, to Texas, where Felan had family. Ultimately, Felan and Yousif fled the United States and escaped to Mexico. On February 15, 2021, following an anonymous tip, Felan and Yousif were located and detained by Mexican immigration authorities and returned to the United States.
Felan pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior Judge David S. Doty to one count of arson. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the St. Paul Police Department, the St. Paul Fire Department, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division. The fugitive apprehension efforts were led by the U.S. Marshals Service.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melinda A. Williams and Emily A. Polachek.