MIAMI, Florida (CBSMiami) – A 73-year-old Miami man, who is also a registered sex offender, faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, arson, and committing a hate crime after he allegedly tried to burn down a home with two women and eight children inside because the women are lesbians.
Miami-Dade Police said Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva, 73, entered the lot next door to his on NW 27th Avenue and allegedly set fire to a mattress that was leaning against the wall of the trailer occupied by the women and children.
Police said as the fire began to get worse, "the defendant hurried back to his residence." The fire began to burn the trailer, but there were no smoke detectors inside, police said. A neighbor from across the street saw the fire and began to alert people of the impending danger.
The women and children inside the burning trailer escaped after being awakened by the neighbor from across the street. Police said Valenzuela-Villanueva came out of his home and "casually began observing the fire. In fact one of his neighbors had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose" to fight the fire.
Miami-Dade Fire Fighters put out the fire, but police said the trailer that was burned sustained "considerable damage."
Miami-Dade Police said surveillance video recorded by another neighbor captured Valenzuela-Villanueza setting the mattress on fire and several neighbors identified him in the video.
According to the arrest report, after being told of his rights, Valenzuela-Villanueva didn't admit to setting the fire, but did say he "despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians."
Further, he stated "Every time he saw them kissing, he felt a deep repugnance and in his opinion they did not deserve to have children."
Valenzuela-Villanueva is in jail on $230,000 bail.