Jealousy Spurred Gasoline Attack, Police Say

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

A Prince George's man charged with setting his girlfriend on fire last weekend attacked her after he accused her of cheating on him, according to police charging documents released yesterday.

The suspect, Anthony M. Willoughby, 40, appeared via closed-circuit television during a brief bond hearing yesterday at the Prince George's Courthouse in Upper Marlboro.

Willoughby said little at the hearing, during which District Court Judge Thurman H. Rhodes read the charges against him: attempted first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault.

When Rhodes asked if he would like to be represented by the public defender's office, Willoughby, a self-employed landscaper, responded, "Yes, I would." The judge ordered that Willoughby continue to be held without bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 28.

Meanwhile, the victim, Fredia Edwards, 39, remained in critical condition in the burn unit of Washington Hospital Center, a hospital spokesman said yesterday. She suffered severe burns to her face, chest and arms, police said.

According to police, Willoughby attacked Edwards in his home about 3 a.m. Saturday. The charging document alleges that when Willoughby began questioning Edwards about other men, the two argued, and Willoughby left. He returned a short time later with a cup of gasoline, doused her upper body and set her on fire, the charging document alleges.

On June 6, Edwards had obtained a protective order against Willoughby. In her petition, Edwards wrote that he had choked her and hit her twice in the back of her head. The protective order was rescinded June 30 at Edwards's request. Relatives said she was trying to reconcile with Willoughby.

The attack resembles a high-profile domestic violence case that occurred in Prince George's in October, when Yvette Cade, 32, was attacked by her estranged husband at the mobile phone store in Clinton where she worked. Roger B. Hargrave doused her with gasoline inside the store, chased her outside, then set her on fire.

Cade suffered severe burns to her face, head, torso and arms. Hargrave was convicted of attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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