Police name man accused of setting fire to home with wife inside

Concord police have identified 45-year-old Richard Barnette as the man who allegedly attempted to burn down his house Saturday afternoon with his wife trapped inside it.

Barnette was arrested later that day and booked into county jail on suspicion of arson and attempted murder, Concord police Lt. Andrew Gartner said today.

He has not yet been charged. Detectives plan to present their case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office Wednesday, Gartner said.

Concord Lt. Tim Runyon said Saturday that police and fire crews received reports of a house fire in the 3600 block of Thunderbird Court just after 1:30 p.m.

Barnette's wife was in the home at the time of the fire, but managed to escape. She was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution, but was not injured in the blaze, Gartner said.

The couple's 9-year-old son was outside the house when the fire was started, Gartner said. The boy is the couple's only child.

Runyon said Barnette and his wife are going through divorce proceedings, but were both still living in the house.

At some point Saturday Barnette allegedly made a comment about how his wife was “not going to get the house,” Runyon said.

Barnette then allegedly doused the home with a combustible fluid and lit it on fire.

“Preliminary investigations show that he tried to trap (his wife) in the house,” Runyon said. As a result, police will be seeking charges of attempted murder against Barnette.

Barnette remains in custody today at the Martinez Detention Facility. His bail has been set at $750,000, according to county jail officials.

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