The evening of the fire, unemployed Cuban refugee Julio González had argued with his former girlfriend Lydia Feliciano, a coat check girl at the Happy Land, urging her to quit. She claimed that she had had enough of him and did not want anything to do with him anymore. González tried to fight back into the club but was ejected by the bouncer. González returned to the establishment with a plastic container of gasoline. He spread the fuel on a staircase, the only access into the club, and then ignited the gasoline. González was charged with 174 counts of murder - two for each victim - and was found guilty on 87 counts of arson and 87 counts of murder on 19 August 1991. For each count he received the sentence maximum of 25 years to life (a total of 4,350 years). (25 March 1990)
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