A Florida man accused of setting his girlfriend’s house on fire tried to pin the blame on a “random black guy,” according to an affidavit cited in news reports.
The document reportedly says Jose Bernardo Rosas Madrigal sprayed the outside of his girlfriend’s home with flammable fluid, including drawing a heart outside her bedroom, and that his internet search history shows he sought information on starting fires.
“He planned this in advance. He Googled how to burn the house, he mixed the combination and poof he set it on fire. And poof we put him in jail,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, according to WFLA. “It’s by the grace of God that we don’t have three people burned up in a house fire.”
But Mr Madrigal had a different story for detectives, according to the affidavit: a “random black guy” was the culprit.
Surveillance footage shows Mr Madrigal’s truck arriving at the home before the fire ignited. The 19-year-old faces multiple counts of first-degree homicide and a first-degree arson count.
The girlfriend’s father told the Daily Beast that more damage was narrowly averted.
“We were very lucky. We caught it in time before it blew up,” James Scott said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to The Independent’s requests for comment.