A Columbia man who assaulted his wife and set fire to his Harper’s Choice apartment during a tirade earlier this year was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay $430,000 to debtors, according to Howard County State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.
Alejandro Adolfo Rodriguez, 25, of the 5400 block of Harpers Farm Road, pleaded guilty in August to first-degree arson and second-degree assault before Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman, Kirwan said.
According to Kirwan, Howard County police were called to the apartment complex on April 5 by Rodriguez’s wife, who reported that her husband had hit her and locked her out of their apartment.
Police said Rodriguez shouted obscenities at them from the window of a bedroom that was on fire, Kirwan said.
Rodriguez eluded police as officers and firefighters evacuated the building as the blaze grew to a two-alarm fire and was arrested the next afternoon, Kirwan said. Fire investigators noted that there were two fires in the apartment and both were determined to have been deliberately set, according to Kirwan.
At this morning’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution told the court that the fire destroyed three apartments in addition to the one occupied by Rodriguez.
Kirwan said Judge Lenore Gelfman said Rodriguez's actions were “really very disturbing” and of a “callous nature.”
Rodriguez was sentenced to 10 years, with all but 18 months suspended on the arson charge and 10 years, with all but 18 months suspended on the assault charge, to be served concurrently, Kirwan said.
Rodriguez was also placed on five years' probation upon his release in addition to a number of other conditions, including paying $430,000 to insurers, residents and other parties, Kirwan said.