Hatchet-Wielding Man Who Lit College Students On Fire Gets No Jail Time In Plea Deal: Report
Brandon McGlone
Berkeley Police Department

A man convicted of lighting students on fire at U.C. Berkeley in 2020 is reportedly on track to not serve any jail time for the heinous attack because he agreed to participate in a diversion program for veterans.

The Berkeley Scanner reported that Brandon McGlone, who was convicted of multiple felonies, accepted a plea deal from the Alameda County district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office.

McGlone approached two men eating outside a restaurant, knocked their food off the table and told them he was going to light them on fire, CBS News reported at the time. He allegedly sprayed them with the flammable aerosol lubricant WD-40 as they escaped.

Immediately following the incident, he went into a teahouse where he sprayed the can and lit two people on fire.

Bystanders tried to restrain him but he pulled out a hatchet and threatened them. When police arrived, they found he was carrying other weapons, including knives, a machete, and Molotov cocktails.

If McGlone completes the program then the charges against him will be dismissed and, if he doesn’t, he could face up to eight years in prison.

“He must successfully engage in and complete whatever course of therapy is prescribed by the treatment team and abide by whatever conditions are set forth,” Judge James Cramer said during a hearing on April 28. “If he fails to do so, he could be terminated from the Veterans Treatment Court program and sentence will be imposed.”

During the attacks in September 2020, McGlone told a man that he wanted to “light someone on fire” because “If I don’t get to see my family tonight, someone else doesn’t get to see their family tonight. And I choose you.”

The man said at the time that he had seen a lot of “crazy” homeless people in his life but this situation was different right off the bat because McGlone “seemed dangerous.”

McGlone’s defense attorney at the time tried to cast him as a victim, saying that his actions were the “result of a very dark time, a very bad time” in his life.

Prosecutor Sean Flynn blasted the “horrific” acts of violence that McGlone inflicted on his victims and said that “we’re fortunate that nobody was more seriously hurt.”


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