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Man Burned Neighbors' Home Because They Are Lesbians: Police

Two women and eight children were at home when fire was set: Police



    (Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014)

    A 73-year-old Miami man was arrested on attempted murder and arson charges after police say he tried to burn down his neighbor's trailer home containing two women and eight children because the women are lesbians.

    Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva is also facing a hate crime charge over the blaze that was sparked early Saturday at the River Park Trailer Park at 2260 Northwest 27th Avenue, according to a Miami-Dade Police arrest report released Wednesday.

    Valenzuela-Villanueva was being held on $230,000 bond Wednesday, jail records showed. An attorney was not listed.

    Courtesy Fontenelle Forest Rehabilitation Center

    According to the arrest report, Valenzuela-Villanueva had been involved in an ongoing feud with his neighbors that had resulted in several heated arguments.

    Tensions allegedly boiled over around 4:25 a.m. Saturday, when Valenzuela-Villanueva set fire to a mattress that was leaning against his neighbor's trailer, the report said.

    The fire consumed the mattress and began to burn the trailer, going undetected for several minutes. The trailer had no smoke detector or fire warning system.

    At one point, a neighbor noticed the fire and alerted the victims, who were able to escape. Valenzuela-Villanueva casually came out of his home and observed the fire, and had to be compelled to assist in bringing a garden hose to extinguish the fire by a neighbor, the report said.

    Firefighters responded, but the trailer sustained considerable damage, the report said.

    A neighbor's security system recorded Valenzuela-Villanueva set the fire, but when he was questioned, he didn't admit to setting it, the report said.

    "He stated that he despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians," the report said. "According to the defendant, every time he saw them kissing he felt a deep repugnance, and in his opinion they did not deserve to have children."

    Valenzuela-Villanueva faces 10 counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.