An Omaha man was charged with first-degree arson after he allegedly set fire to his home when his wife spurned his sexual advances.

Gilberto Garcia, 36, who is free on $25,000 bail, waived a preliminary hearing and will stand trial in Douglas County District Court. He faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.

Firefighters responding to a house fire near 21st and Oak Streets at 11:30 p.m. on July 20 determined that a fire in a closet had been intentionally set, according to an Omaha Police Department report. A woman outside the home, speaking through an interpreter, told police that her husband set the fire.

The woman told an officer that she and Garcia, who had been drinking, were arguing most of the evening. She went to bed but awoke to find Garcia making sexual advances.

After spurning her husband’s advances, the woman went back to sleep only to be awakened by the smell of smoke. She told police that she found her husband in a bathroom closet setting fire to her clothes.

The woman and her three children got out of the house and she called 911. Garcia wasn’t at the scene, but he was arrested two days later.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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