Md. Burning Victim Told Judge of Fears

By Allison Klein and Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 13, 2005

Three weeks before Yvette Cade was doused with gasoline and set on fire, allegedly by her estranged husband, a Prince George's County judge dismissed the protective order Cade had against him, despite her objections that he was violent.

During a Sept. 19 hearing, she told District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo that her husband was intimidating and had been violating the protective order, according to an audio recording of the proceeding.

She said she had pictures of some property he had vandalized. "I want you to look at these pictures because I don't want him to continue," she said.

Palumbo suddenly interrupted her, saying, "Uh, this case is dismissed."

The judge was going along with the request of Roger B. Hargrave, who had written a letter to the court saying he wanted the order lifted so he could go to marriage counseling with his wife.

Hargrave, 33, of Temple Hills is now charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault. He was being held without bond after a bail review hearing yesterday. Cade is still hospitalized.

On Monday morning, Hargrave walked into the crowded T-Mobile store in Clinton where Cade was at work, threw gasoline on her and set her on fire with a match, police said. Half her upper body, including her entire face, suffered third-degree burns, the most serious level. A customer in the store extinguished the fire with a towel.

At the Sept. 19 hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, Cade, 31, told the judge she wanted "an immediate and absolute divorce," according to the recording.

"I'd like to be six-foot-five," Palumbo responded. "But that's not what we do here. You have to go to divorce court for that."

In July, she had applied for the protective order, writing, "I am afraid that he may cause bodily harm if he has the chance to get near me," according to court records. At that time, Palumbo granted the order.

In August, Hargrave wrote to the judge asking him to rescind it: "I love my wife and the family that we shared. . . . I fill [sic] that my wife was the best thing that ever happened to me."

At that time, he was violating the order by calling her and her family and going by her home and job, according to Cade's relatives. She had changed her phone number and installed an alarm system in her home to try to protect herself, they said.

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