Police: Man Set Girlfriend On Fire As 'Punishment'

| by Zara Zhi
Rafael ArredondoRafael Arredondo

An Phoenix man with a history of domestic abuse against his girlfriend has been charged for reportedly setting the woman on fire "as punishment."

Rafael Arredondo, 28, accused his live-in girlfriend of cheating on him with a neighbor, reports WTVR. He was arrested on April 17 for allegedly taping her hands, mouth, neck and head before dousing her in lighter fluid and setting her on fire.

"He used a plastic lighter and lit her on fire," the arresting officer wrote in his probable cause statement.

Arredondo used his hands to pat out the fire and then got a fire extinguisher to put out the flame on her shirt, according to KNXV.

The victim reportedly had second- and third-degree burns on 25 percent of her body and will need to spend a minimum of four weeks in hospital.

Arredondo initially told authorities that a neighbor set his girlfriend on fire, despite having burns on his hands. He told officers he went to the store, leaving his girlfriend alone and, “When he got home the victim was on fire and screaming,” reads the probable cause statement.

When the woman’s was asked for her account of the incident when Arredondo was not around, it was different, police say. Officers believed “that Arredondo has control and jealousy issues." The victim reportedly told them Arredondo had quit his job "so he could be at home to keep an eye on her."

"When the defendant was not around, the victim said what really happened was the defendant lit her on fire as punishment," according to the arresting officer's paperwork.

She also said Arredondo had a history of abusing her. Police noted bruising and stitches above one eye. She said Arredondo hit her and then “stitched it up so she would not have to go to the hospital."

When the arresting officer confronted Arredondo about what the victim had said, he reportedly became distressed and difficult, repeatedly, asking to see his girlfriend.

"He said he did not know why she would do that and was obviously concerned that she claimed he did it," according to court paperwork. "It was obvious he felt the need to see her and speak to her immediately. The interview was concluded due to Rafael's behavior."

Arredondo and the victim had been in a relationship for 15 years, having met as teenagers, reports WTVR. They have three children together who are currently in the custody of the Department of Child Services. According to court documents, Arredondo also had a history of various violent incidents besides the domestic abuse.

Sources: CNN Wire via WTVR, KNXV / Photo credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via KNXV

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