Crime

Man accused of setting Tacoma house on fire while a woman he once dated slept inside

A man is accused of setting a house on fire in Tacoma while a woman he formerly dated slept inside.

Prosecutors charged the 33-year-old Thursday with first-degree arson, five counts of cyberstalking, harassment and two counts of disclosing intimate images.

A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Charging papers give this account:

Police responded to a suspected arson fire Sept. 25 in the 4500 block of South D Street, where firefighters were putting out the blaze.

A woman crying in the yard told police the man responsible is someone she formerly dated and now has a restraining order against.

She and two other people were inside the home when the fire started.

She was sleeping and “woke up to a stranger banging on her front door screaming that the house was on fire,” the declaration for determination of probable cause said.

Everyone got out of the house.

Then the suspect texted the woman that her house was on fire and something to the effect of it would be “a shame if she burned,” the probable cause statement said.

She said she called police multiple times that week to report that he was violating the restraining order.

One of those times he sent her a photo of himself with a gun, she said, and told her he was going to kill them both.

Police also learned that the suspect had texted a video to 19 people of the woman getting dressed. He’d been threatening to share the video, the woman said.

“State is reserving on additional cyberstalking charges for each separate recipient, two more counts of Arson in the First for the other occupants whose lives were placed at risk, and additional violations of the no contact order,” the probable cause statement said.

The defendant also might face a charge of unlawful gun possession, the court records say.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.
  Comments