Man accused of using gasoline to set friend on fire
UPDATED 4:35 p.m. Tuesday
URBANA — A Champaign man who allegedly threw gasoline in the face of a friend and set him afire over the weekend is in the Champaign County Jail.
Simon S. Pascual, 29, who listed an address in the 300 block of East Hill Street, was arrested Monday in connection with an incident Friday night involving a man that he believed was having an affair with his wife.
Urbana police investigator Dave Smysor said police were called to the 1000 block of East Fairlawn Drive just before 11 p.m. Friday where they found a Guatemalan man with burns to his face and neck, who was also bleeding from one hand.
Smysor said the 25-year-old man said he had just parked his car and was walking to his front door when a man approached him from behind, threw gasoline into his face, and lit it.
The victim ran inside and put water on his face. He told police he did not know who set him on fire. Smysor said police recovered a soda can with the top cut off that contained gasoline and a lighter in the front yard.
On Sunday night, the victim called police back to report that he had received a number of allegedly threatening text messages from Pascual, who he described as a best friend.
On Monday, patrol officers located Pascual at his home in Champaign and he told them that he and the victim were like brothers but that he recently learned that the victim had allegedly been having an affair with his wife. The victim and Pascual’s wife used to work together, Smysor said.
“He admitted that he set (him) on fire. He said he only wanted to hurt him very badly,” Smysor said, adding that Pascual was upset that the victim called police “because in Guatemala, no one calls police.”
Smysor said the victim was treated and released for his injuries.
Pascual was charged on Tuesday with two counts of felony aggravated battery.
Pascual is being held at the Champaign County Jail on $500,000 bond. His next court appearance was set for May 21.