Louis Ambrose had been threatening to kill his wife for years, and had already threatened to set her on fire earlier in August. On Tuesday, Ambrose tried to do both things at once, setting fire to the St. Paul fourplex house where he, his wife, their two kids, and several other people lived.
That's the story told in a complaint filed yesterday by the Ramsey County Attorney's office, which charged Ambrose with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree arson.
On Monday, Ambrose found a pair of sweatpants that weren't his, and assumed his wife was cheating on him. Ambrose left, and his wife, scared, locked the door, put his clothes in a suitcase and threw them outside. She also put food out there so Ambrose could eat. Then she woke up to the sound of two flaming "cocktails" flying through her bedroom window.
Ambrose came into the house with a can of lighter fluid, pouring it on the ground while screaming, "I'm going to kill her!" Soon after, Ambrose decided he'd die in the flame too, holding his wife captive while telling her, "we're going to die today."
The unnamed hero in the case is a neighbor who kicked in the door of the flaming house and and saved the woman, referred to as E.N.J., according to the complaint:
He stated that he saw flames coming up over the house and kicked the front door open. Ambrose was in the entryway. The smoke was so thick he at first could not find E.N.J. who was on the floor. He told police that Ambrose was keeping E.N.J. in the house and preventing her from getting out the door. Ambrose told him, "We both gonna die in this bitch" referring to himself and E.N.J. He grabbed Ambrose and threw him down the stairs and then grabbed E.N.J. and brought her outside.Another neighbor said she had seen Ambrose threatening the with lighter fluid earlier in August, telling her he was going to light her on fire.
When police caught up to Ambrose, he said he hoped the woman had died, and said he'd "taught her a lesson." He also told cops that he'd "just got out of a mental institution for spraying lighter fluid around," according to the complaint.
Second-degree attempted murder comes with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and first-degree arson carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $20,000.