Sex Offender Torched Neighbors’ Home Because He Hates Lesbian Couple, Police Say

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Florida man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly set his neighbors’ trailer on fire because he "despised" the fact that the lesbian couple had children, according to Miami-Dade police.

Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva, 73, was charged with attempted second-degree murder, arson, and committing a hate crime.

The fire started early Saturday morning in the River Park Trailer Court. Video surveillance shows Valenzuela-Villanueva setting fire to a mattress that was leaning against his neighbors’ trailer.

He stood outside the trailer “casually” watching as his neighbors, two women, and their eight children ran from the blaze. Neighbors said they “had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose” to extinguish the fire.

Police said the incident is part of an ongoing feud, but one of the alleged targets, Norma Beteta Fonseca, said she wasn’t even aware that Valenzuela-Villanueva had a problem with her.

“The reason, they say, is because I’m a lesbian. But this is not an excuse for me. I never had a problem with him,” Fonseca told the Miami Herald. “I don’t understand. This is crazy. I don’t understand why.”

“Although he did not admit setting the fire, he stated that he despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians,” the arrest affidavit says. “According to the defendant, every time he saw them kissing he felt a deep repugnance and in his opinion, they did not deserve children.”

The couple has eight children between the ages of 3 and 18.

Valenzuela-Villanueva’s arrest on Monday was his tenth since 1994. In September 1999, he was charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and indecent exposure to a child under 13.

Because he is not currently on probation, police say he is legally permitted to live within 2,500 feet of a park, school, daycare or playground where children gather.

Sources: UPI, Miami Herald