The Bizarre World of Florida

Man set fire to home because lesbians lived there April 3, 2014

1396464275000-Braulio-Valenzuela-VillanuevaA 73-year-old Miami man, who is also a registered sex offender, faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, arson, and committing a hate crime after he allegedly tried to burn down a home with two women and eight children inside because the women are lesbians.

Miami-Dade Police said Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva, 73, entered the lot next door to his on NW 27th Avenue and allegedly set fire to a mattress that was leaning against the wall of the trailer occupied by the women and children.

Police said as the fire began to get worse, “the defendant hurried back to his residence.” The fire began to burn the trailer, but there were no smoke detectors inside, police said. A neighbor from across the street saw the fire and began to alert people of the impending danger.

The women and children inside the burning trailer escaped after being awakened by the neighbor from across the street. Police said Valenzuela-Villanueva came out of his home and “casually began observing the fire. In fact one of his neighbors had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose” to fight the fire.

Miami-Dade Fire Fighters put out the fire, but police said the trailer that was burned sustained “considerable damage.”

Miami-Dade Police said surveillance video recorded by another neighbor captured Valenzuela-Villanueza setting the mattress on fire and several neighbors identified him in the video.

According to the arrest report, after being told of his rights, Valenzuela-Villanueva didn’t admit to setting the fire, but did say he “despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians.”

Further, he stated “Every time he saw them kissing, he felt a deep repugnance and in his opinion they did not deserve to have children.”

Valenzuela-Villanueva is in jail on $230,000 bail.


A guy walks into a bar, drinks $80 worth of shots, sets fire to trash can in the bathroom and punches several people in the face on the way out March 22, 2014

1395450284902A Volusia County man has been arrested after South Daytona police said he set fire to a trash can in a bar bathroom and got into a fight with several people as he tried to leave.

Police said Jason Buchanan walked into a bar on South Ridgewood Avenue and ordered $80 worth of shots of alcohol Friday.

According to investigators, Buchanan, 33, downed all the shots and then set fire to a trash can in the bar’s men’s room.

When Buchanan went to leave, multiple people tried to stop him. Police said he punched them all in the face, including one man over 70 years old.

The fire didn’t do any serious damage, police said.

Buchanan was locked up in the Volusia County Branch Jail on the following charges:

  • Criminal mischief (less than $200)
  • Aggravated battery
  • Defraud inkeeper under $300
  • Assault on a law enforcement officer
  • Battery on a person 65 or older
  • First-degree arson of a building with people present.

Fire building, knife smacking, cursing at PSL Dunkin’ Donuts? March 1, 2014

A woman accused of cutting up paper with a Swiss Army Knife at a Dunkin’ Donuts, building a fire in an ashtray and smacking her knife into a wall got locked up, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

melissa_miller_mug-thumb-150x186-15238Witnesses to the Feb. 10 incidents in Port St. Lucie gave statements to police indicating Melissa Miller, 42, was “screaming curse words yelling and creating a scene” at a Dunkin’ Donuts on Southwest St. Lucie West Boulevard.

They reported Miller cut paper with her Swiss Army Knife, sparked a fire in an ashtray on the patio and held the knife over it to warm it. After the knife was heated, they reported, Miller began smacking the edged weapon into the wall “all while continuing to curse and yell at bystanders and customers.”

Investigators found Miller sitting on the sidewalk a few blocks away.

She said she was using a knife to cut up paper in an effort to learn how to build a fire.

One way to build a fire involves striking a match and holding the flame to crumpled paper, thus causing the paper to burn. If this flaming paper is positioned under logs or wood in a structure designed to house fires, such as a fireplace or firepit, the flaming paper could ignite the logs or wood to create a fire over which items including marshmallows and hot dogs can be roasted.

Miller, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested on a disturbing the peace charge.


Man, all fired up, set senior complex on fire February 4, 2014

Tampa Police have arrested a man for arson after a fire broke out at an apartment complex near Tampa.

Kenneth%20Haskins%20Bk%2014004627Firefighters evacuated 28 apartments on Sunday night, but were able to contain the fire to a single apartment at Mar Plaza in Temple Terrace. The complex is an elderly affordable living facility. No injuries were reported.

The upstairs unit where the fire began sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage.

During the investigation, police say 58-year-old Kenneth Haskins, who lives at the facility, made remarks that he had been upset with the property’s management company.

Based on his statements, as well as evidence collected at the scene, police arrested Haskins and charged him with one count of arson.

Investigators tell 10 News Haskins wanted to get back at management after he was told to stop masturbating in front of his open windows and front door.

The assisted living facility is occupied by seniors and disabled people.  Tampa Police say Haskins suffers from severe facial injuries that were a result of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the face several years earlier.
Four families were displaced by the fire and residents of the remaining units were allowed to return home Sunday night.
The American Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire.


Quick fire pit etiquette reminder: Roasting marshmallows over the fire = good. Roasting your girlfriend’s daughter’s face over the fire = bad January 24, 2014

52e189dc8074a_preview-300A Bradenton man is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder, after a domestic altercation that left his girlfriend beaten and her adult daughter burned on the face.

It happened just after 10pm Wednesday in the 500 block of 12th Avenue West.

According to the Bradenton Police Department, 25-year-old Brandon Randolph got into an argument with his girlfriend, Detira Coston, during which he punched her in the face several times.

That’s when police say he grabbed a gasoline can.

“He came in here and started pouring gas all through the hallway, and he goes ‘everybody in this m*****f***** gonna burn tonight!’” says Coston.

For the last nine years, she’s been in a relationship with Randolph. But late Wednesday night they got into a domestic dispute and things took a turn for the worse. “He goes up the hallway, opened the door where the kids are sleeping, and throws gas in all the room.”

Coston’s adult daughter Teira and 5 children were in the home. She says she saw Randolph beating her mom and pouring the gasoline. “I went to call the police, he grabbed my phone, so I went outside to use one of the neighbors phone and he grabbed me…and we were tousling and he threw me in the fire and held me there for about a minute or two.”

Teira somehow managed to get away, but not before receiving 2nd degree burns on her face and arms. She also received a gash on her forehead that resulted in her getting several stitches.

Randolph fled the scene but was apprehended early Thursday. “We tracked him down to a residence in Manatee County jurisdiction, and with their assistance we located him and took him into custody,” says Capt. William Fowler with the Bradenton Police Department.

And while Randolph was not known to be a violent person, this isn’t the first time he’s gotten physical with Coston. “In the past nine years, this is the fourth time. But it’s the first time to this extreme.”

When asked why she stayed with him after the pervious altercations, Coston answered: “It’s simply out of love.”

Randolph has been charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Attempted Arson, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Domestic Battery.


Woman jailed on her way to burn down deputy’s house

sfl-flduh-burn-deputys-house-20140123-001 County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Wednesday afternoon the 22nd day of January 2014 at approximately 5:00 PM Sheriff’s Office investigators responded the Madison County Building Inspectors Office concerning a Barbara Tyson calling the building inspector and making threats toward him and an Officer employed with the Sheriff’s Office.

Tyson called again while Investigators were present at the Inspectors office and they too heard the threats she made as she further advised that she was en route to burn the deputy’s home and then going to burn the building inspectors home.

While investigators initiated cell phone tracking to locate the position of Tyson, other officers were assigned to the areas of the residences of threat. Deputy O’Brian located Tyson on Seaboard Street in Lee Florida as she was attempting to locate the Deputy’s residence. Tyson was taken into custody as she continued to make threats of bodily harm against a Sheriff’s Office Deputy.

Barbara Tyson was arrested and charged with the following and additional charges are pending:

Barbara Tyson, B/F, DOB: 12/22/1967 of Chicago Ill. Charged with Attempted Arson


Woman started apartment fire ……… in front of cops January 21, 2014

sfl-flduh-apartment-fire-cops-20140120-001A woman whose behavior prompted a call to police early Monday morning set fire to a couch in front of arriving officers, leading to a blaze that damaged several Pinellas Park apartments, police said.

The strange incident was reported before 2 a.m. at 7685 40th St. N, according to police reports. A caller to 911 reported that a woman was destroying the inside of an apartment at that address.

Officers arrived at the four-unit apartment complex, where they were told that the woman, Barbie Ann Winstead, was in one of the bedrooms, police said. Inside, they told Winstead to come toward them several times before she walked out of the bedroom and tried to move past the officers, police said.

As the officers stopped and detained her, they noticed smoke coming from inside the room, police said. A couch erupted in flames. Officers tried to stop the flames from spreading, but soon the fire raged out of control.

Winstead, 44, was arrested as firefighters were called. She was later booked in the Pinellas County Jail on charges on a charge of first degree arson and failure to appear in court for a previous charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Records show Winstead was arrested four times within the last year in Pinellas County on charges that included multiple counts of assault and battery on law enforcement officers. She was released from state prison in 2012 following after a yearlong sentence for grand theft and multiple convictions of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence, according to the Department of Corrections.

She was held in jail Monday in lieu of $80,013 bail.

Crews were able to extinguish the blaze, but the resulting smoke left all four apartments uninhabitable, police said. The Red Cross was helping residents find temporary shelter.



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