Man accused of setting pregnant girlfriend on fire could get pretrial release
CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. - A man charged with lighting his pregnant girlfriend on fire in Prince George’s County could soon be out of jail as he awaits trial, according to officials.
Laquinn Phillips was set to go on trial on Tuesday, but a judge pushed back the new trial date to December as the state awaits the results of DNA testing.
The judge has also agreed to let Phillips out of jail and remain under house arrest with an ankle monitor until then, sparking concern among prosecutors.
Phillips was charged with setting Andrea Grinage, his pregnant girlfriend, on fire inside her apartment on Elkwood Lane in Capitol Heights in September. When firefighters arrived they found smoke coming from the second and third floors of the three-story building.
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Grinage suffered burns to a large part of her body and was rushed to the burn unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where she gave birth early to the baby girl she was carrying. Both the child and Grinage were listed in critical condition but have since been released from the hospital and are recovering.
Phillips' mother is required to install a phone landline in his home for monitoring, which means he could be out of jail within days.
The Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office has released a statement disputing the judge's decision, which reads in part, "We believe that because of the serious nature of the charges Mr. Phillips is facing and the fact that he lit his pregnant girlfriend on fire in attempt to kill her and her unborn child, make him a threat to the victim and the community."
The defense argues that since the trial has now been delayed until December, the suspect has the right to go free until DNA ties him to the crime.