| Crime |

Wilfredo Ruiz Accused of Attempting to Set Wife and House on Fire Christmas Morning

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If you have any dregs of holiday spirit sloshing around in your tired soul, this story should evaporate it. According to police, sometime around 10 on Christmas morning, 46-year-old Wilfredo Ruiz got into an argument with his wife Ana in their home on the 14400 block of SW 22nd Terrace. Then he started punching her and pulling her hair.

Then, according to the report, he took a gas can and soaked his wife with the liquid. He also doused the the first floor of the house, with his two daughters, son, and daughter-in-law sleeping in bedrooms.

Wilfredo picked up a barbecue lighter, cops say, and "was going to set Mrs. Gonzalez on fire."

Ana woke their 21-year-old son Erick for help, and he and Wilfredo got into a fist fight over the lighter as the mother ran out of the house.

According to the report, Wilfredo himself called 911 and told the operator: "Hurry up before I kill her."

Wilfredo was charged with five counts each of third-degree attempted murder and first-degree arson. He's been released on a $25,000 bond.

But when we spoke to Wilfredo this morning, he had a totally different story. According to him, he used the gas can to fuel a pressure washer to clean their patio after a Christmas Eve party. His wife told him he was going to wake people up. "I really don't care," Wilfredo remembers saying. "I need to clean."

That's when Erick, grumpy from being awoken, came downstairs and got in an altercation with his dad. He pushed Wilfredo as the father held the gas can, and the gasoline sloshed on Ana. "I never got out a lighter," says Wilfredo. "I never tried to kill nobody."

Wilfredo says he doesn't know why the police reported that warped story, and claims that his family never told cops any of that. Riptide has so far been unable to reach any of the alleged victims.

He's been ordered to stay away from his immediate family pending trial, so he's currently living with his sister. His youngest daughter is thirteen years old. A truckdriver who works twelve-hour shifts, he says he's only allowed to work ten because of the judge's orders, so he may lose his job. "My family's going down, down, and down," he says. "They don't have a father, and they don't have any money. The police don't care about the real truth. They just want to open the case and fill the jails."

Wilfredo was charged with aggravated battery in 1996. He was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, but the conviction was vacated in 2008. He was also charged with burglary of an unoccupied building in 2010. The charges were dropped after he entered a pre-trial diversion program.

Not a good Christmas, says Wilfredo. "New Year's was even worse."

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