Man arrested for setting girl on fire

June 25, 2009 4:57:19 PM PDT
Police have made an arrest in the case of a Berks County woman set on fire. Both police and firefighters rushed to the scene in the 800 block of Lincoln Street in Reading. The fire spread to the house while the woman was flown to the hospital.

At the crime scene this morning, firefighters and police say they found the victim, Maria Serrano, age 49, had been beaten, stabbed, and then torched, allegedly by her estranged boyfriend.

"Her estranged boyfriend allegedly poured a flammable liquid on her and set her on fire down in the basement," Reading Fire Chief William Rehr said.

"[There were] second degree and third degree burns to the feet and lower legs and the thigh areas," Deputy Chief Michael Moyer said.

Serrano ran to a neighbor's house to call police.

According to what neighbors say Serrano told them, the boyfriend stabbed her with a screwdriver and then poured gasoline over her.

Before Serrano was taken away and helicoptered to the Lehigh Valley Hospital's burn center, she told police who tried to kill here. She said it was her recently paroled boyfriend, Donald Williams, Jr., age 32; he was arrested within a half-hour at the halfway house to which he has been assigned.

Williams has been charged with attempted murder and arson. Serrano's brother Juan Rivera has always sensed Williams was trouble.

"He was in jail for killing somebody, that's what I told her, she had to be careful," Rivera said.

Serrano is expected to survive her wounds and injuries.

The halfway house that housed Williams is the same place that Eric Floyd walked away from in February 2008. By springtime, Floyd was involved in the armed robbery in which Philadelphia police officer Stephen Liczbinski was killed.

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