Man sentenced to life in prison for setting wife on fire

Wife suffered severe burns over more than 75% of body

PALATKA, Fla. - A 41-year-old Jordanian man living in Palatka convicted of setting his wife on fire and trying to kill her was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Khalid Mohd was found guilty in June of attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, arson, and aggravated battery causing serious bodily injury with a weapon.

Mohd showed no remorse at Wednesday's hearing, maintaining that his wife was burned in a grill accident and that he saved her life by driving her to a hospital.

"I did nothing," Mohd told a prosecutor. "I'm not worried about this. You did a good job to throw an innocent man in prison."

Prosecutors said Mohd poured lighter fluid on his wife, Rema Jamel, and set her on fire in March 2010. She suffered burns over more than 75 percent of her body and had many skin grafts.

"To get tortured the same as I got tortured," Jamel said of what Mohd's punishment should be, adding that he should spend his life in prison.

Prosecutors said Jamel had asked her husband to help extend her visa, and he told her he would not and that he intended to bring his second wife from Jordan, where it is legal to have multiple wives, to live in Palatka. Prosecutors said Mohd told Jamel she could not take her children with her back to Jordan and threatened to kill her and bury her in the backyard.

Jamel returned from Jordan for the trial. Both she and her 11-year-old son testified.

An explosives expert from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also testified.

"The defendant carried out this crime with chilling brutality," State Attorney R.J. Larizza said. "Because of the testimony of the victim and her son, Mohd's vicious and senseless rage will not go unpunished."

Mohd was arrested after a five-month investigation.

Police said they were called to the couple's Palatka home, and Mohd told officers that his wife had been cooking at the grill and spilled lighter fluid on herself and then caught herself on fire.

Police said detectives and investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office processed physical evidence and conducted interviews with potential witnesses. They said that based on that and other information, detectives obtained a warrant for Mohd's arrest.

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