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DA says woman torched ex's bed, charged with attempted murder
May 10, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

An 18-year-old Redwood City woman is being charged with attempted murder and arson after prosecutors say she slipped into an ex-boyfriend’s home and torched his bed while he slept.

Jacqueline Alexandra Rivera is also charged with residential burglary in the April 26 incident that left the 21-year-old man with minor burns on his arms and hands.

The couple had dated several months although their status at the time is unclear. However, she later told someone he had cheated on her, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Rivera reportedly knocked on the first-floor bedroom window of Rivera’s San Mateo home at approximately 2 a.m. and asked to talk about their relationship. He sent her away but she returned with the same request about an hour later, Wagstaffe said.

At 5:45 a.m., the man awoke to his bed on fire around him and screamed for his father who put out the flames with a garden hose. The victim later told authorities he did not alert police or fire because he believed Rivera was responsible but didn’t think he could prove it, Wagstaffe said.

He also said a plastic bottle left near the bed smelled of gasoline, Wagstaffe said.

Two weeks later, the man said he received a text message from a woman, later identified as Rivera’s friend, who told him the defendant was responsible for the fire and had made several comments about plans to hurt him. The woman contacted police and, in a pretext phone call with Rivera, she admitted her participation, Wagstaffe said.

San Mateo police arrested Rivera Monday, May 7 and she appeared in court yesterday for arraignment. She asked for a court-appointed attorney and will return to court May 16 to enter a plea and identify her lawyer. Bail was set at $500,000 and, if convicted, she faces 10 to 15 years in prison.

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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