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Woman Set Fatal Fire In Bid for Man's Attention

Woman Set Fatal Fire In Bid for Man's Attention

Bates (Left) Wood (Right)

The Times-Tribune via YellowBrix

May 04, 2010

WAYNE COUNTY, TX – Susan Marie Bates told state police she wanted to get boyfriend Timothy Wood’s attention when she wrapped herself in a Dallas Cowboys fleece and set the blanket ablaze.

The fire was the third that Ms. Bates is accused of setting Saturday afternoon at the rented home she and Mr. Wood shared in Wayne County’s Texas Twp.

Mr. Wood extinguished the first two. The last took his life.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” Ms. Bates, 45, allegedly told investigators afterward at Community Medical Center.

As Ms. Bates awaited a bail hearing today in Wayne County Court on criminal homicide and arson-related charges in Mr. Wood’s death, arrest documents released Monday painted a portrait of a woman apparently driven to extremes by jealously over her 40-year-old boyfriend’s continued contact with his ex-wife.

Mr. Wood’s body was discovered in a second-floor bedroom after flames gutted the two-story home at 21 Canal St. on Saturday around 4:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Carol Lienert.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Troopers Patrick J. Zirpoli and John Chervanka, Ms. Bates set three fires on the home’s second floor over a two-hour period.

The first happened about 2:30 p.m. when Ms. Bates set fire to a mattress and blanket; Mr. Wood put the fire out with the help of Karen Hazen, who had arrived at the residence with Mr. Wood’s brother, Gerald.

About 4:15 p.m., Ms. Hazen again saw smoke in the residence and woke up Mr. Wood, who was dozing in the living room, police said. He ran upstairs and came back down with a flaming garbage can, which he took outside and extinguished.

Mr. Wood returned to the home and went upstairs, where he and Ms. Bates started to argue, police said. A few minutes later, Ms. Hazen and Gerald Wood were on the porch when they heard Mr. Wood yell for help and saw black smoke and flames at the front of the home. Ms. Bates escaped through a second-story window, police said.

In an interview with investigators at CMC, where she was taken for treatment, Ms. Bates admitted setting the deadly fire, the affidavit said.

She told police she was upset that Mr. Wood had called his ex-wife, who then called him back, and she and Mr. Wood argued about him talking to her. Ms. Bates said she was “sick of this going on” with his ex-wife and was trying to get Mr. Wood’s attention, the affidavit said.

After the second fire, Ms. Bates told police she wrapped herself in the blue and gray Cowboys fleece and set it on fire with a paper match as Mr. Wood returned upstairs to the bedroom, according to the affidavit. Mr. Wood pulled the blanket off her and threw it into the stairwell, which caught on fire. As she made her way to the window to escape the flames, she told police she thought Mr. Wood was behind her.

“I did not mean to hurt Tim,” she told police, according to the affidavit.

Ms. Bates was ordered held without bail after her arraignment Saturday night by Magisterial District Judge Jane E. Farrel