Man arrested after woman is bound to chair, beaten and set on fire


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A 30-year-old man was charged with attempted murder after he bound his roommate to a chair, beat her and repeatedly set her on fire last week, deputies said. The woman had heavy bruising, cuts, burn marks and swelling on her body, reports show.

“(The woman) told me during the interview several times that she thought she was going to die,” a deputy said in the arrest report. The sheriff’s SWAT team searched the residence and found the man, John Alexander Rodriguez Cardenas, hiding in the attic, reports show.


Rodriguez Cardenas was charged with attempted felony murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon in violation of a risk protection order. Rodriguez Cardenas was held Tuesday at the Indian River County Jail without bond.

Rodriguez Cardenas’ booking information showed he lived on Sixth Avenue, but his arrest report lists him with an address on Sixth Street. The woman had been living at the home with Rodriguez Cardenas and his live-in girlfriend for three months, deputies said.

The motive behind the incident was unclear.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office recently released details about the suspected torture that occurred on June 7. It started when the woman woke up to Rodriguez Cardenas punching her in the face, reports show.

Rodriguez Cardenas dragged the woman into his room and bound her to a chair. Rodriguez Cardenas put red tape over the woman’s mouth, hands and neck before he choked her, reports show.

The woman said Rodriguez Cardenas doused her with rubbing alcohol and used a torch lighter to set parts of her body on fire. The burns caused parts of her skin to flake, reports show.

“(The woman) stated that once she was lit on fire, Rodriguez Cardenas would wait a few seconds and extinguish the fire,” the deputy said in the report. “According to (the woman), she was set on fire approximately 5-to-6 times before the event deescalated.”

The woman was taken to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital for treatment.

Deputies spoke with Rodriguez Cardenas’ girlfriend, who saw the entire attack unfold. Rodriguez Cardenas told the girlfriend he was going to kill the roommate, reports show.

Rodriguez Cardenas denied the allegations against him. Deputies searched the residence and found red tape throughout the home.

The deputies also found rifle ammunition rounds and live shotgun shells in Rodriguez Cardenas’ bedroom, which violates his risk protection order that expires in February 2025.

Deputies previously issued the red flag law against Rodriguez Cardenas on Feb. 29 after he threatened to use violence with a gun against a person. The law prohibits Rodriguez Cardenas from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Deputies arrested Rodriguez Cardenas and booked him into the county jail. Rodriguez Cardenas has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. July 25, court records show.



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