A 46-year-old Milledgeville man remained jailed Monday morning after reportedly dousing his girlfriend with gasoline and then threatening to set her afire Sunday night, local authorities say.
The man also reportedly threatened to set his girlfriend’s sister ablaze in the same manner. The incidents were witnessed by an 8-year-old girl, according to an incident report filed by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kevin Malloy.
The deputy identified the suspect as Robert Owens, of the 100 block of Cedar Lane, who was charged with one count of aggravated assault, simple assault and cruelty to a child in the second degree.
After the arrest, Owens was taken to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center and jailed.
While en route to the call, a 911 dispatcher told Malloy that a man was attempting to light his girlfriend on fire with gasoline while attempting to get into a locked residence.
When the deputy arrived at the residence, he immediately spotted a man in the yard with his hands up in the air. The man later was identified as Owens.
“I yelled out to Robert to lie on the ground on his stomach, spread his feet and put his hands on the small of his back,” Malloy said. “I then approached Robert and placed him in handcuffs behind his back. I told Robert several times that he was not under arrest at that time, just being detained for officer safety.”
The deputy said Owens was cooperative with him the entire time.
While checking Owens for weapons, Malloy said he smelled what he described as a strong odor of alcohol coming from Owens’ breath and his body. The deputy said he then placed Owens in the backseat of his patrol car so he could talk with one of the victims in the case.
Malloy said when he walked into the residence, he smelled an “overwhelming odor” of gasoline inside the residence. The deputy said he also that some of the skin on the chest of the 33-year-old victim was red and appeared irritated.
The victim reportedly told the deputy that she and Owens currently were separated. She said Owens had asked her to meet with him and talk in the front yard.
While the couple stood in the front yard of the residence, the victim told Malloy that Owens poured gasoline on her from a lighter fluid bottle.
“(The victim) then informed me that Robert took out a lighter and told her he was going to light her on fire,” according to the incident report.
The victim said she then walked away and that Owens poured more gasoline on her and again reportedly told her he was going to set her afire.
The victim told the deputy she then ran inside the residence.
The suspect also reportedly threatened to do the same thing to the victim’s 27-year-old sister, who witnessed the earlier incidents along with a little girl.
Owens later was told he was being arrested. He was then taken to the county jail and later informed of the charges against him.