Police: Man douses mom, baby in lighter fluid, threatens to set them on fire

LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Lawrence man is facing charges after police say he doused the mother of his child and their baby in lighter fluid before threatening to set them on fire.

William Connatser, 37, is charged with assault with intent to murder and other crimes against the mother of his 18-month-old boy.

Police say Connatser met the woman and child at a Market Basket in Lawrence on Saturday, where he allegedly purchased lighter fluid.

Connatser doused the woman and child with the lighter fluid inside the woman’s car and threatened to set them on fire, according to investigators.

“He started spraying the lighter fluid about the vehicle. Then with a lighter, threatening to light that vehicle on fire,” said Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque.

Police say Connatser started beating the woman when she saw an officer and started honking her horn to get the officer’s attention. Police say the officer immediately responded.

“The suspect in this case was on top of the female, pretty much going to town on her and throwing some punches,” Vasque said.

Connatser was in a pre-release program for another crime and was wearing a GPS ankle bracelet when he went to the Market Basket.

Vasque praised the officer’s handling of the situation and the woman’s actions as well.

“The female victim had the strength and the courage to see a police officer,” Vasque said. “It could have been a tragic situation.”

At Connatser arraignment Monday, the victim showed up in court with a black eye and got a restraining order. Connatser then collapsed and had to be carried out of the courtroom. He was ordered held without bail.

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