Man burned while trying to set fire to home of estranged wife’s boyfriend, report says

Man burned while trying to set fire to home of estranged wife’s boyfriend, report says
Ernest Johnson, 43, was arrested Thursday (Oct. 11) and booked with aggravated arson and violation of a protective order, said Capt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -A West Bank man was badly burned when he tried to set the home of his estranged wife’s boyfriend on fire, but the plot didn’t go as planned, according to a report by our partners NOLA.com | The Times Picayune.

According to the report, Ernest Johnson, 43, was arrested when he ended up setting himself on fire in his attempt to burn down the home.

Johnson was booked with aggravated arson and a violation of a protective order, Public Information Officer Jason Rivarde said.

Johnson’s wife spoke with NOLA.com, and said no one was injured.

“I’m more hurt than anything,” she said in the report. “For you to decide that you are mad with me and you rather not see me walk this earth anymore, I can’t wrap my mind around that.”

The incident happened about 3 a.m. on Sept. 29 at a home in Marrero.

Johnson’s wife received a telephone call from one of his relatives around 8:30 a.m. notifying her that he was at the hospital being treated for severe burns.

According to the report, Johnson had told his relatives that he’d been injured while lighting a cigarette in some sort of “freak accident” involving gasoline.

"That story never added up," Johnson's wife said.

About half an hour later, the woman’s boyfriend went to let out the dog and noticed fire damage to back door, she said.

Her boyfriend found a broken bottle on the ground, a cigarette lighter, and patches of burnt grass, according to the report..

“We put two and two together,” the woman said.

They contacted the Sheriff’s Office about the fire. Authorities who investigated the case believe Johnson went to the home with a Molotov cocktail, a beer bottle filled with fuel and paper stuffed into the mouth, according to the report.

Police say Johnson threw the bottle at the backdoor, hoping to shatter the glass and ignite the home in which she was also sleeping. But the bottle bounced back, according to Johnson’s wife.

"It wasn't a breakable door. When he threw the bottle, he didn't stand far enough away from it, and it engulfed him in flames," she said.

Johnson was gone by the time his wife and her boyfriend woke up, according to the report. Sheriff’s Office detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, but he was still being treated at the hospital, according to Rivarde.

Johnson's wife said she was told he had burns on 60 percent of his body.

According to the report, authorities took Johnson into custody Thursday night and booked him at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna. Magistrate Commissioner Paul Schneider set Johnson’s bond at $150,000, according to court records.

Schneider also issued an order of protection, which the couple said is their third against him.

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