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Bradenton Fla--Suspect in Fatal Arson Fire Arrested for Stalking

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  • Bradenton Fla--Suspect in Fatal Arson Fire Arrested for Stalking

    Bradenton Herald

    Arson suspect charged with stalking

    An estranged boyfriend may have been out for blood July 6, detectives say.

    But David Keith, the 51-year-old Bradenton man who died that Sunday in an arsonist's fire, probably wasn't his target.

    Kylie Lee, 21, had recently broken up with Yan Domenech, 26, who had since been making threats to Lee and her family, detectives said.

    Investigators have arrested Domenech on charges of aggravated stalking in a case involving Kathy Lee, Kylie's mother, who was in the house at the time of the fire. Domenech is a suspect in the fatal arson, Manatee County Sheriff's Office Detective Bill Waldron confirmed Sunday.

    The stalking charge, filed late last week by the State Attorney's Office and signed by Judge Marc Gilner, was the result of several incidents leading to the arson case at the Woodcrest Apartments.

    Domenech is being held without bond in the Manatee County jail.

    Days before the fire, Domenech had just gotten out of jail on a separate charge. While appearing in court June 24 for violating an injunction Kathy Lee had made against him, cocaine was discovered in Domenech's pockets. He was arrested later at his home for introducing contraband into a detention facility, Waldron said.

    Between the injunction and the arrest, Domenech began making intimidating phone calls to Kathy Lee's home, Waldron said.

    "He threatened to kill her, wanted to know where her daughter was," Waldron said a witness told him. "He also made some threats to David Keith and said something to the effect of, 'I'm going to kill all of you people and burn the place down.' "

    A few days before the fire, Domenech was bonded out of jail. When Kylie Lee heard that Domenech was on the loose, she left her mother's house to stay in Sarasota with a friend, according to Waldron .

    "She had already left him and was trying to get away from him," Waldron said. "She got out of there just a couple days before the fire.

    Investigators say that Domenech, gasoline can in hand, soaked Woodcrest Apartment C-5 from the staircase to the second floor, wetting the door frame to an upstairs bedroom where Keith lay sleeping.

    Domenech, of 3004 34th Ave. Drive W., had been threatening Kathy Lee for several months and had violated repeat violence injunctions made against him, Waldron said.

    The bedroom at 4915 26th St. W. that burned July 6 belonged to Domenech's 21-year-old ex-girlfriend, Kylie Lee. Her mother, Kathy Lee, had been allowing Keith, whom she met at a methadone clinic, to stay there for about two months.

    Keith died in a bedroom closet while Kathy Lee, 44, her son Michael Lee, 24, his girlfriend, Shanna Matz, 23, and friend Stacie Carr, 32, awoke from their slumber and escaped.

    Witnesses told Waldron that when the place went ablaze, Keith was standing at the upstairs window, endeavoring to open the glass.

    "Jump!" They yelled to him from below, to which he replied, "I can't."

    Keith was apparently crawling to find an exit, and ended up on the floor, his head stuck inside an open closet where he likely was overcome by the fumes. Keith's body suffered no other visible injuries besides those incurred by the fire.

    "He was trying to find a way to get out," Waldron said. "I don't know if he thought the closet was the way out."

    Firefighters from Cedar Hammock Fire Department attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate Keith. He was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

    Because of a pungent gasoline smell inside the apartment and a burn pattern on the carpet, state arson investigators suspected that an accelerant was used, court reports said. State Fire Marshal Investigator Joe Spano ruled the fire an arson.

    Investigators deemed the fire a homicide days after it occurred. Rumors flew in the neighborhood about a young man who had been dating Kylie Lee and was out for vengeance, said property manager Sandy Roberts.

    Kathy Lee put out an order against Domenech for protection against violence June 30, Waldron said, because she had been a victim of violence in acts he committed. She said Domenech called her apartment the day before the fire, demanding to talk to her daughter and asking Kathy Lee to relay a message to her.

    When Kathy Lee asked who was calling, the caller refused to state his name, saying, "You don't need to know" - a phrase she said Domenech used often when she would ask him questions, according to Waldron's affidavit.

    Michael Lee said he received the same calls that day from a man whose voice he recognized as Domenech's asking where Kylie Lee was staying. Michael Lee said Domenech had threatened to kill him and kidnap Kylie Lee.

    Domenech approached two men at 5 a.m., a little more than an hour before the arson, and asked to borrow a gas can, Waldron said. Domenech, who his friends called "Puerto Rican John," claimed that the car of a friend had run out of gas. The two men said they did not own a gas can but suggested Domenech purchase one at Wal-Mart. Domenech drove off with "Cousin Mike" in a black Ford Explorer.

    Around 7:30 a.m. after the fire, Domenech picked up a friend, went to his mother's house and took a shower with his clothes on. Domenech then drove his friend by Woodcrest Apartment and stopped his SUV, according to investigative documents.

    Testimony from Kathy Lee and other witnesses gave detectives probable cause to execute search warrants on Domenech's mother's house and his house, Waldron said.

    The arson dog from the West Manatee Fire Department helped locate a partially burned red gas can in the apartment. A reddish-pink towel sticking out of the spout was thought to have been used as a wick, court reports said.

    When Kylie Lee returned to her mother's apartment, she noticed a blue and white towel outside near the window, which she said looked similar to one Domenech owned. She said he used it as a bath mat when she lived with Domenech at 1717 27th St. W. in Bradenton, according to an investigative affidavit.

    Witnesses said the gas can was an item they had seen at Domenech's house. Another gasoline can of the same model was found across the street.

    Kylie Lee's belongings were all in the bedroom where Keith was sleeping July 6, and she said Domenech had been there with her in the past. He knew it was her room, according to the affidavit.

    Domenech has refused to talk to detectives, Waldron said. He is being represented by his attorney, Richard Reinhart.

    On March 26, Domenech was arrested on a charge of attempted murder for shooting 22-year-old Andres Avalos Jr. in the arm, the bullet finally lodging in his chest. Avalos was apparently Kylie Lee's ex-boyfriend, Waldron said.

    The State Attorney's office subsequently dropped the charges against Domenech.

    Investigators reported Domenech was going into his house when Avalos came out of the bushes with a gun, put the gun to Domenech's head and forced him inside. The pair argued and fought over the gun. Domenech said the gun went off in the struggle, but Avalos told police Domenech was going to shoot him in the head and he ducked.

    Kathy Lee is staying with relatives outside of the Woodcrest complex, and a cleanup crew is working to rebuild Apartment C-5, according to property manager Sandy Roberts.

    Shaken neighbors relayed their concern to Roberts after the incident, she said.

    "It was a tragedy. It really was. I wish that I would have known something to prevent it," Robert said. "Everybody was concerned, but nobody has moved out because of it. They're just going to be happy that someone was arrested."
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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