Md. Man Accused of Burning His Wife

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A half-dozen customers were shopping at a T-Mobile store in Clinton yesterday morning when a man walked in clutching a 20-ounce green Sprite bottle filled with gasoline, Prince George's County police said.

The man quickly scanned the room for his estranged wife, an employee at the store, and when he saw her behind the counter, he flung the gas at her face, according to police.

She ran to the back of the store, and he followed, still hurling the gas in her direction. She dashed outside. He lighted several matches and threw them on her, setting her on fire.

With flames leaping off her body, the woman stumbled back inside. A customer threw a towel on her, dousing the flames, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman for county police.

The woman, 31, was flown to a hospital with third-degree burns, the most serious level of burn, covering half her torso and face, Richardson said.

Police did not identify the woman; they described her condition last night as serious.

"She looked like she was really hurt," said Chardae Mays, an employee at a nearby Pizza Hut who saw the woman being carried away by paramedics.

The incident happened at 10:30 a.m. in the 8900 block of Woodyard Road in a strip mall shopping center near Andrews Air Force Base.

The assailant, identified by police as Roger B. Hargrave, 33, of Temple Hills, was arrested last night after police obtained a warrant charging him with attempted murder and with assault.

Police said he has a history of violence and criminal convictions.

Richardson said the crime was especially brazen because the assailant did not try to conceal his identity and acted in the middle of a crowded store. A child of about 8 was in the store, she said.

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