Man Charged after wife dies in apartmen fire
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
A man was charged with first degree murder and aggravated arson after he allegedly set his apartment on fire and fatally burned his wife in the incident at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the 4800 block of North Kenneth Avenue, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The woman was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Claudia Martinez-Rayo, age 35, of the Kenneth Avenue address. She died at Loyola University Medical Center of thermal injuries, the medical examiner said.
The suspect was identified by the state’s attorney’s office as Gregorio Carmona, age 35, of the Kenneth address.
A spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office said that the man knew that his wife was having an affair, and that when he saw her take her cell phone to the bedroom, he allegedly poured gasoline on her, set the apartment on fire, and ran out of the apartment with their daughter.
The woman had burns over 70 percent of her body, and firefighters found a gas can in the laundry room, the spokesman said. A witness saw the man with the gas can, and there was gasoline on the woman’s clothing, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Carmona originally reported that he awoke to the smell of smoke and gasoline and carried his 6-year-old daughter out of the apartment but that smoke prevented him from re-entering the apartment for his wife, according to the 17th (Albany Park) District police. The daughter was treated at Swedish Covenant Hospital for smoke inhalation, police said.
The Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Unit determined that an accelerant was used in the fire, police said.
Several residents who live upstairs in the building were displaced by the fire, according to police.