Hu committed the “thoughtless crime” after having a fight with his wife, said prosecutor Craig Ortner.
Renee Willems, 66, died in the fiery mess Hu created. “Renee lived there for 18 years. She was minding her own business in her own home when she paid the ultimate price,” Ortner said.
She had studied languages in Paris and worked as a translator for the United Nations, Ortner said, as he described her life.
She later authored children’s stories and was happily married. Her husband was out buying groceries when Hu started the fatal blaze.
Georgine Willems, 70, flew in from Brussels to witness the sentencing of the man who killed her sister.
She said her brother-in-law was utterly devastated and didn’t attend because “he could not stand it.”
Hu’s lawyer said his client was filled with remorse.
“He acknowledged his actions and the consequences of his actions, which he did not do earlier. He feels depression because he set a fire and one person died and he has to go to jail,” said attorney Kenneth Walsh.
The information was cold comfort for the grieving Willems, who said they haven’t recovered from her senseless death.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was such a shock. You don’t expect it to happen… It’s terrible,” said the victim’s sister.
Hu’s sentencing gave her “a little bit of relief.”
“I’m not happy, but I think it’s fair,” she added.