Jury Finds Man Who Set Wife Afire Guilty

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 29, 2006

Roger B. Hargrave's own attorney admitted to a Prince George's County jury that his client doused his estranged wife with gasoline, chased her, then lit a match and set her on fire. But the attorney said Hargrave intended just to burn Yvette Cade, not kill her.

The jury disagreed. After deliberating for about seven hours over two days, jurors convicted Hargrave yesterday of first- and second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Hargrave attacked Cade, 32, about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at the T-Mobile store in Clinton, where Cade worked as a sales representative. Hargrave doused Cade with gasoline inside the store, ran after her into a parking lot, then stomped on her foot to keep her from escaping.

The assault made national headlines when it was reported that, about three weeks before the attack, a District Court judge had dismissed a protective order Cade had obtained against Hargrave. Cade and Hargrave divorced this month.

The verdict was read in an Upper Marlboro courtroom packed to standing room with Cade's relatives, courthouse workers and journalists.

Flanked on both sides by relatives, Cade, dressed in a bright blue sweat suit and a wool cap, did not outwardly react as the jury forewoman read the verdict. Her mother wiped away tears, and two women with the family quietly clenched their fists.

At the defense table, about 20 feet away, Hargrave, dressed in an olive-colored suit, dress shirt and tie, also showed no emotion.

As sheriff's deputies led the handcuffed Hargrave out of the courtroom, two women in Cade's group called out, "Bye!" Hargrave looked back at them without expression as he was led out through a back door.

Circuit Court Judge William D. Missouri scheduled sentencing for June 2. Hargrave, 34, faces a possible sentence of life in prison. He would be eligible for a parole hearing, the date of which would depend on a number of factors, prosecutors said.

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, who prosecuted the case with Assistant State's Attorney Ann Wagner-Stewart, said the length of the jury's deliberations made him nervous. But he was pleased with the result.

"I think he needs to be off the street. He's clearly a violent man," Ivey said during a post-verdict news conference.

Evidence against Hargrave included eyewitness accounts from Cade's co-workers and bystanders, as well as a series of still photographs from the store's security camera.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company