Man the debt of the ‘random black guy’, after he set girlfriend’s home on fire, police say

Jose Bernando Rosa Madrigal allegedly his girlfriend’s house on fire and tried to put the blame on a random black man.’

(Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

A Florida man sought for instructions about how to start a fire in the house to his girlfriend’s house ablaze — and after he was caught he tried to blame the inferno on a “random black guy,” said the police.

Jose Bernando Rosa Madrigal, 19, of Auburndale, was on Saturday arrested after he allegedly set the fire, while his girlfriend and her family were still in the house.

According to a statement, the girlfriend of the bedroom, the front of the house, the family’s vehicles and a canoe were found sprayed with flammable liquid. Outside the woman’s bedroom, the researchers found a heart-shaped symbol is drawn with the liquid.

“Poof, he set it on the fire — And poof, we put him in the prison.”

– Sheriff Grady Judd

“He was planning this in advance,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told WFLA. “He Googled the burning of the house, he mixed the combination and poof, he put him on the fire — And poof, we put him in the prison.”

He added: “It is by the grace of God we do not have three people burned in a house fire.”


Madrigal sent allegedly his girlfriend several threatening texts via Snapchat, warning that he would burn down her house. He told investigators he was with his mother at home in 25 minutes when the fire was set, but the security camera caught him driving past the house several times.

The police said Madrigal acknowledged that he drove several times in the front of the house, after he and his girlfriend quarrel. He said for the third time he went by, he noticed a fire in the garden, and saw a “random black guy” light and flee the scene.

Court documents showed Madrigal searched for “you can start the charcoal with gas house on fire” on his mobile phone before the home went up in flames.

The 19-year-old faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of first degree arson and possession of alcohol by a person under 21 after investigators found a half bottle of vodka in his vehicle.


James Scott, the father of the girlfriend, told The Daily Beast she is “trapped in time before it explodes” and causes more damage to the house.

“I thank God, because God is on our side,” he said. “If it would have gone 5 or 10 minutes more, the car would have blown up. My house would be on fire. He would have killed us.”

Lucia I. Suarez Sang a Reporter for Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

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