Lesbian Couple's Home Set Fire by Elderly, Bigoted Neighbor
Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva, a 73-year-old Miami man, set his neighbors' trailer home on fire simply because they were lesbians.
"He stated that he despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians," the arrest report reads. "According to the defendant, every time he saw them kissing, he felt a deep repugnance, and in his opinion they did not deserve to have children."
The incident happened at 4:25 in the morning Saturday at the River Park Trailer Park at 2260 NW 27th Ave.
The couple and eight children were inside when Valenzuela-Villanueva set fire to a mattress that was leaning against the trailer. A neighbor's surveillance camera caught Valenzuela-Villanueva igniting the mattress. After lighting the fire, he ran back into his own trailer.
Because the trailer wasn't equipped with a smoke detector, another neighbor who noticed the fire had to alert the family.
Valenzuela-Villanueva came out of his trailer to "casually" view the fire burning and had to be "compelled" by another neighbor to grab a hose to help extinguish the fire.
Valenzuela-Villanueva didn't admit to lighting the fire despite the video evidence, but did mention he was in a long-running feud with the two women that was apparently centered on their sexuality.
The 73-year-old was charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree arson, and commission of a hate crime. He's being held on $230,000 bond.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.