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Prosecutors: Jealousy led man to burn wife to death

Published: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 8:29 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A Cook County judge denied bail to a 35-year-old man accused of setting a fire last week that killed his wife after he learned she was having an affair.

Authorities have charged Gregorio Carmona, 35, of the 4800 block of North Kenneth Avenue with first-degree murder and aggravated arson.

Carmona, Claudia Martinez-Rayo and their six-year-old daughter were in their basement apartment on Jan. 16 when Carmona saw his wife, Martinez-Rayo, take her cell phone out of her bedroom, Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Dickey said.

Martinez-Rayo then went into their daughter’s bedroom, Dickey said. But Carmona poured gasoline into various parts of the apartment that they shared, and lit it on fire, Dickey said.

A police report obtained by the Tribune indicates that Carmona also poured gasoline on Martinez before lighting the fire.

Carmona took their daughter out of the apartment, preventing her from being injured, according to prosecutors.

“I find that you are a dangerous individual,” Cook County Circuit Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told Carmona through an interpreter as he delivered his ruling. Carmona folded his hands behind his back and hung his head low throughout much of his bond hearing.

Carmona was born in Mexico and worked as laborer, according to police records.

An autopsy Friday determined Martinez-Rayo died on Thursday from thermal injuries as a result of the apartment fire, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Gasoline was later discovered on his clothing and the deceased woman's clothing, according to prosecutors and police records. A gasoline can was found several feet from where the victim was found in her daughter’s bedroom, Dickey said.

The police report also alleged that Carmona initially told police he'd been awakened by smoke and the smell of gasoline. He also told authorities he tried to go back inside to help Martinez-Rayo but said there was too much smoke, according to the report.

The fire started about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, and Martinez and a 6-year-old girl were taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital following the fire, police said.

She was declared dead at Loyola University Medical Center’s burn unit just before 6 a.m., according to the medical examiner's office.

Carmona was arrested on Friday after being released from Swedish Covenant Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation from the blaze, according to police records.

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