Court Date Set For Man Accused Of Burning House With Children Inside
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A court date has been set for a Fayetteville man accused of setting fire to a house with children inside, officials say.
Nicholas Rodriguez, 32, was arrested in May after police say he set fires at every entrance to a residence where multiple children were living.
He was arraigned on Wednesday (June 10), and he pleaded not guilty, according to the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office. His court date has been set for July 28.
According to the prosecutor’s office, he has been charged with arson and attempted capital murder.
When authorities arrived at the house that was on fire, one of the occupants said, “He tried to burn my house down with my babies inside!”
On Thursday (May 7) at 1:22 a.m., police were sent to a residence on West Elm Street in Fayetteville for a report of threats being made, according to an arrest report. Rodriguez’s wife told police he threatened her and said, “If you ever leave me, I will kill you,” the report states.
Rodriguez’s wife also said he choked her, but she got away and ran into a nearby convenience store, asking the clerk to keep Rodriguez away from her, police said. After that, Rodriguez ran away.
At 4:51 a.m., police were patrolling West Elm Street. They were trying to locate Rodriguez when they heard smoke detectors and smelled a nearby fire, the report states.
They found a home on fire and noted all the occupants were safe. Officers also noted that three sides of the home were ablaze.
Three adults (one of whom was Rodriguez’s wife) and three children escaped the home, but it wasn’t easy due to all the exits being on fire, police said. The arrest report states one adult had to extinguish one of the exit fires so the children could escape, and the other two adults had to jump over flames to get out of the house.
Authorities later located Rodriguez walking north on Gregg Street and took him into custody, police said.
According to the arrest report, the Fayetteville Fire Department investigated the incident, and preliminary results indicated arson was committed at all three doorways of the residence in an attempt to prevent the occupants from exiting the home.
Police interviewed Rodriguez, and he admitted to having marriage trouble and fearing his wife would leave him for another man, authorities said. The suspect also said he grabbed a gas container from a neighbors truck, started the fire and fled the area when he heard sirens approaching, the arrest report states.
During the interview, Rodriguez said he was only trying to scare his wife, police said.