SALT LAKE CITY — A woman accused of setting two cars on fire at the residence of an ex-boyfriend was the victim of an alleged kidnapping and assault a couple of days after her arrest, police say.
On Feb. 27, Jessica Halee Wright was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of arson. She was formally charged on March 4 with the crimes, a second-degree felony.
In that case, Wright, 27, allegedly, set two cars on fire that were parked in front of a house at 5016 W. Longmore Drive (6175 South) on Feb. 25. Based on surveillance videos collected from the area, the person responsible was identified by the homeowners as the ex-girlfriend of the homeowner's son, according to charging documents.
As Unified police and the Unified Fire Authority continued to investigate the case, they learned that on March 2, Wright's live-in boyfriend, Alejandro Rodriguez Jr., 24, of Millcreek, became angry with her and continuously beat her - including with a metal mop handle and a BB gun - "told her multiple times that he would kill her or harm her," and would not allow her to leave, according to charging documents.
Rodriguez eventually took Wright to the hospital "and told her to lie about how she received her injuries," the charges state. Doctors noted that Wright suffered "head trauma, multiple bruises and abrasions all over her body, and she required sutures to close a laceration on her knee," the charges state. Wright went back to the hospital on March 4 and "found she had a broken hand," according to charging documents.
Rodriguez was charged March 8 in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, three counts of domestic violence in front of children, a third-degree felony, drug distribution, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.Comment on this story
Prosecutors requested Rodriguez be held without bail because in addition to his current charges, he is a documented gang member, he has another domestic violence case involving a gun pending, and he has a felony evading case also pending that he was out on bail on at the time of his arrest, charging documents state.
Police did not know Friday whether the arson case and the domestic violence charges were related.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA's Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.