NW Side man charged with setting fire that killed girlfriend - New York News

NW Side man charged with setting fire that killed girlfriend

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Northwest Side man accused of killing the woman he lived with by dousing their apartment with gasoline and setting it on fire knew she'd been cheating on him, a prosecutor said Sunday.

Gregorio Carmona, 35, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated arson for the death of Claudia Martinez-Rayo. Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered him held without bail. Police said Carmona was her live-in boyfriend, but also said he referred to the woman as his wife.

Carmona is accused of setting fire to the couple's basement apartment in the 4800 block of North Kenneth Avenue around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.

Assistant State's Attorney Brad Dickey said the fire started in a laundry room. Carmona poured gasoline throughout the apartment, according to police reports, and on Martinez-Rayo.

The woman, also 35, was found in a bedroom, and a five-gallon gasoline can was found nearby, according to the prosecutor. He said Carmona — aware of his girlfriend's affair — had noticed her taking a cellphone out of their bedroom.

Martinez-Rayo was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood following the blaze, where she died at 5:58 a.m. Thursday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

The couple had a 6-year-old daughter, and Dickey said Carmona did not leave her behind in the burning apartment. The girl wasn't injured, he said. She was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital for an evaluation, Chicago police said, before being turned over to a relative.

Carmona was also treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, and police reports show he was arrested upon his release. Records show his clothing contained gasoline.

A Friday autopsy found Martinez-Rayo died of thermal injuries from an apartment fire, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner's office.

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