Wife sets sleeping husband on fire after talk of ending marriage, Wisconsin cops say

·3 min read

Hours after a woman believed her husband had poisoned her chicken wings, she set him on fire while he slept, according to Wisconsin police.

The man suffered extensive second- to third-degree burns and told officers his wife’s “weird” behavior was the result of discussions that he planned to end their marriage, according to court documents.

Tuhonsty Marie Smith, 29, was charged with arson of a building, recklessly endangering safety and mayhem, domestic abuse.

Her husband, Henry Williams, detailed the events that took place before his wife’s alleged attack. Williams, who has been in a relationship with Smith for eight years, said he had “been walking on egg shells” with his wife for several months, court documents show.

When Williams returned from work to their Milwaukee home on June 2, Smith would not speak with him, police said. She was continuously walking in circles, which Williams said was out of character.

Later that night, the two got into an argument when Williams said he planned to move out of their home without her, police said. Williams had been discussing getting a divorce from Smith for a couple of weeks, and the husband said his wife’s “weird” behavior increased after he informed her of his decision.

Williams took their 3-month-old to her crib before midnight and he went to bed between 1 and 1:30 a.m. A few hours later, he awakened to the back of his head on fire, police said.

He immediately went to the bedroom of their other child, who was sleeping at Williams’ parents house, and he tried to put out the fire with his bare hands, police said. He then realized that the bedroom, including a mattress, was on fire.

“The fire was so fierce so he ran back into his bedroom and grabbed his daughter from her crib in his room and ran out the front door and ran to his parents’ house behind his,” police said.

Williams said he did not realize how badly he was burned until he arrived at his parents’ home and they called 911. He suffered burns to his neck and upper chest, ears, back of his head and neck and both hands, as well as blistering to the right side of his face, police said.

Smith was the only other person at the home with Williams and the baby. She corroborated most of Williams’ account of the incident and admitted to police she set his head on fire, according to court records.

“Smith stated this morning, she started eating chicken wings and thought Henry poisoned them,” police said. “Smith stated she waited until Henry was asleep ... (and) she poured some lighter fluid from the closet in a cup and went where he was sleeping. Smith stated she poured the fluid on Henry’s head and ignited the liquid with a lighter.”

During a court hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered Smith to undergo a competency examination, court records show. She will remain in custody of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department.

A long-time friend of Williams, Denise Wilson, said she is “heartbroken” for him, according to CBS 58.

“I’m just glad he was able to get the baby out and that he’s going to be OK,” Wilson said. “It’ll be a long road to recovery with his burns but ultimately he’ll be OK.”

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