BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Last year, Sobin Nhuy lit a firecracker and threw it near a car, a defense attorney said.

For that act, Nhuy was charged with felonies including arson and possession and use of a destructive explosive device. He was kept behind bars as his case made its way through the court system, said Kern County Public Defender Peter Kang.

This week, a Kern County jury acquitted Nhuy of all felonies and convicted him of three misdemeanors in a verdict that led to his immediate release. He was represented by Deputy Public Defender Richard Myers.

If convicted as charged, Nhuy faced more than 15 years in prison.

“Nhuy’s actions were immature and daft, but absolutely not deserving of over a decade in prison,” Kang said.

He said the charging document alleged Nhuy threw an “exploding device” near a car in September 2021.

Nhuy’s estranged wife, Teresa Melendrez Nhuy, said the device was a pipe bomb enfolded in Christmas wrapping paper, and Nhuy rolled it toward her after showing up at her home uninvited. She said the explosion knocked her off her feet.

Defense investigation, however, revealed the device was a commercially-sold firecracker and there was no damage or burning to the car, and no shrapnel evidence, Kang said.