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A Hartford woman allegedly flung a bottle of flaming hand sanitizer at her girlfriend, sparking a deadly blaze, which killed at least one person, injured several more, and forced dozens from their homes over the weekend, police said.
Destiny Waite, 28, is behind bars on charges of murder, attempted murder, first-degree arson, and first-degree assault, following the lethal fire that tore through a Hartford apartment complex early Sunday morning.
An alleged domestic dispute over money led to Waite torch and toss a bottle of flaming sanitizer at her roommate and romantic partner in the couple’s second-floor suite, which set their apartment ablaze, and quickly enveloped the building, police said.
“The burning bottle of sanitizer splashed against the wall and flames began to spread,” an arrest warrant obtained by the Hartford Courant stated.
From there, the fire spread through the building’s upper floors. Waite allegedly then screamed death threats at the woman, who was badly burnt by the makeshift Molotov cocktail, before fleeing the building.
“Some of the flaming sanitizer struck [the girlfriend’s] arms causing them to catch fire and burn,” the warrant added. “Destiny then left the bedroom and the apartment while yelling ‘I hope you die.’”
Firefighters later retrieved the body of 50-year-old Jerome Kyser, who was killed in the fire, according to NBC affiliate WVIT. Medical examiners later determined he died from smoke inhalation, authorities said. Two adults and two children were taken to the hospital but have since stabilized. Police confirmed that Waite's girlfriend wasn't one of the hospitalized individuals.
Waite was arrested by authorities at her family’s apartment in Hartford a short time later, the Courant reported. The woman claimed she had been with her family the entire night, according to local media.
Hartford police stressed that evidence and eyewitness accounts, however, placed Waite at the scene of the crime prior to the inferno.
"After 20 hours, the detectives established probable cause," Lieutenant Paul Cicero told Oxygen.com. "She was at the location at the time fire occurred."
Prosecutors also claimed to have a “strong” case against the accused arsonist.
“As a result of her actions, an entire building has been devastated,” prosecutor Danielle O’Connell said.
However, at Waite’s arraignment on Monday, the woman’s defense attorney blasted the charges, insisting his client had been framed.
“She was accused of being in a location and she was not there,” Joseph Elder told Oxygen.com on Tuesday.
Elder also alleged the 28-year-old is a victim of sloppy police work.
“The police didn’t do a thorough enough investigation,” the defense lawyer added. “The comments of the so-called accuser were self-serving and they were contradictory.”
As for who set the fire, Elder declined to speculate, but he was adamant it wasn’t Waite.
“It wasn’t Destiny, we know that,” Elder said. “It had to be somebody who was in the house at the time.”
The defense attorney said Waite is due back in court later this month. She remains in custody and is being held on a $1 million bond, online jail records show.
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