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Archive for Thursday, May 2, 1996

SUSPECTED ARSONIST CITES ABUSE

May 2, 1996

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A Lawrence woman accused of setting a fire that destroyed her apartment and damaged two others earlier this week allegedly was pushed and slapped by her husband shortly before the fire started.

Rhonda Smith, 35, who has been charged with aggravated arson in connection with Monday's fire at 2011 Riverridge Rd., told police she was the victim of abuse.

Her 1-year-old son also was hit in the forehead by a plastic bowl allegedly thrown at her by her husband during the altercation, police reported.

The reported domestic battery occurred between 4 p.m. and 4:47 p.m. Monday, police reported.

Firefighters were called to the apartment at 4:48 p.m.

Police reportedly had been called to the residence in response to domestic problems before Monday.

Authorities have not found Smith's husband.

The fire destroyed Smith's apartment and damaged two others. Damage was estimated at $98,000, and officials will not say how the fire started.

Smith remained in the Douglas County Jail on $75,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.

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