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How Aggravated Battery Charges Turned into First Degree Arson Charges

arson-aggravated-battery_180x120According to an article in WPTV News, a Palm Beach County man faces several felony charges for attempting to light his girlfriend on fire and stabbing her when the lighter didn’t work. He is facing charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree arson, and aggravated battery.

The Crime

Aggravated battery, or just battery, is the most common charge that results from domestic disputes that get out of control. Arson, however, is quite so common a result. According to the article, the woman who remained unnamed in the police report, claimed that she asked her boyfriend to move out a couple of days ago because he was not paying any bills.

A few days later the woman said she got up when she heard a noise while sleeping, saw her front door was open, and when she went to close it someone poured a chemical on her head. According to a probable cause affidavit, when she wiped what she suspected was gasoline from her eyes her boyfriend was trying to ignite a lighter. There were apparently sparks but the flame wouldn’t ignite.

In the police report she said the pair struggled and he eventually grabbed a knife and stabbed her. She got away, made a frantic call to 9-1-1, and drove herself to Wellington Regional Hospital.

Deputies later found a shirtless man who smelled like gas later identified as Michael P. Sutherland. When asked why he smelled like gas, according to the affidavit Sutherland said that he wanted to light his girlfriend on fire, but the lighter didn’t work and he was going to a friend’s house where he was going to hang himself.

Deputies immediately took Sutherland into custody.

Criminal Defense

If you have ever been charged with aggravated battery, you probably already understand how messy the trial process can be. Facing battery charges can result in an extremely serious sentence if you don’t have a criminal defense lawyer on your side to help defend you. A criminal defense lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your case with the sole purpose of building a strong defense for your benefit.

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