Woman who set self on fire had been charged in husband's death, police say

HOUSTON – A woman set herself on fire Friday as officers were trying to arrest her in connection with her husband’s death, police said.

The incident was reported about 9:40 a.m. at a home in the 9900 block of Valley Wind Drive in northeast Houston.

According to Houston police, 69-year-old Janet Alexander is charged with murder in connection with the April 27, 2018, stabbing death of 64-year-old Lionel Alexander. 

In that case, police said it appeared that an argument between the couple escalated and the woman was forced to defend herself. Janet Alexander suffered cuts to her upper body that were not life-threatening, police said. A grand jury indicted her in the case, police said.

Janet Alexander is seen in this 2015 mug shot released by the Houston Police Department on April 19, 2019.

Officers went to the Valley Wind Drive home Friday and were trying to arrest Alexander when they said she set herself and her house on fire. 

The fire was extinguished, and she was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment. While her condition was not immediately released, video recorded by a witness showed Alexander was conscious when she was taken to an ambulance.

The video was recorded by Debra Holcombe, who said she started recording after she went outside to see what was going on.

"She had tried to burn herself, I guess," Holcombe said.

Charles Williams also went outside to check on the disturbance.

"I heard something go boom," Williams said.

Neighbors said they are confused about the situation, but they are thankful no one else was hurt.

"It's always quiet. Never hear about break-ins or nothing. I don't know, guess it's just something that happened today," Williams said.

VIDEO: Woman wheeled to ambulance

Alexander has been charged with murder and is being held in police custody at the hospital.



About the Authors:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.