A Brooklyn man who set his ex-girlfriend and her Queensbridge apartment on fire in November 2009 was sentenced last week to 100 years to life in prison, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Khenan Clarke, 27, of Ocean Avenue, was arrested two years ago for an attack in which he splashed his then three-month pregnant ex-girlfriend with gasoline while her two children were in the apartment and threatened to kill the three of them, the DA said.
After an eight-day jury trial, Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise convicted Clarke in April of one count of arson, three counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and one count of burglary, the DA said.
“The victims targeted by this defendant were lucky to be alive,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement released after the sentencing June 29.
On the day of the incident, Clarke and his ex-girlfriend had been arguing over her refusal to let Clarke see their son, 4, the DA said. The woman had been inside her apartment with the boy and her 2-year-old son by another man, the DA said. Clarke left but returned within the hour, gasoline can in hand, and poured gasoline beneath the apartment’s door, the DA said.
The woman begged Clarke to stop for the sake of her sons, opening the door when she did so, the DA said. Clarke responded by putting gas on her and on the door, saying that she and her sons would die, the DA said. Clarke then set the apartment door and the woman on fire, the DA said.
The woman ran to a neighbor’s apartment, screaming as she did so, with Clarke pursuing her and splashing more gas on her, the DA said. The neighbor came to the woman’s aid, splashing water on her and fending off Clarke with a knife, the DA said. The woman then escaped to the roof, where firefighters found her, the DA said.
Meanwhile, the door had shut when Clarke pursued his ex-girlfriend, trapping the two boys inside the apartment, the DA said. Firefighters who responded to the scene rescued them and treated them for smoke inhalation, the DA said.
The vicious attack left the woman with third-degree burns on her legs, the DA said.
“It is incomprehensible that the defendant would try to kill his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her two children — one of whom was his own — in such a heinous way,” Brown said. “His actions could have been deadly not only for his intended victims, but for the dozens of other people who lived in the building and for firefighters who responded to the blaze.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community News Group
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