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Man sets self on fire after battering woman

Posted: February 2, 2012 - 1:11am

ANCHORAGE — A former mixed martial arts fighter doused himself with automobile starter fluid and ignited it after vowing that he would not go back to jail, Anchorage police said Wednesday.

Harold Finger III, 28, sustained serious burns to his face, head and upper torso and was in critical condition at an Anchorage hospital Tuesday evening, police said.

Witnesses told police that Finger had been out of jail for just one week when he became angry with one of the women in the apartment while speaking on the phone with an acquaintance. Finger wanted the woman to talk with the man but she refused. He then turned his anger on her, police spokesman Dave Parker said Wednesday.

Finger, who is 5 feet, 11 inches and weighs 200 pounds, proceeded to punch and kick the 34-year-old woman in the face and head while wearing leather gloves with hard plastic knuckles.

“The finale was when she was lying on the floor having been beaten in the face and head and he turns around and gives her a shot with his heel when he walks away, right in the face,” Parker said.

The woman, who is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds, and two other women in the apartment took refuge in a bedroom from the man they told police used to be a mixed martial arts fighter.

Finger picked up a container of engine starter fluid and stood outside the door and then doused the door frame and his upper body with the highly flammable ethyl ether mixture while telling the women he did not want to go back to jail, according to authorities.

Finger then grabbed a 6-year-old child belonging to one of the women and held the boy to his chest, Parker said. The three women were able to get the boy back before Finger ignited the fluid and it burst into flames. One of the women used a jacket to help put out the flames but not before Finger was severely burned.

Parker described what happened as “a terrorist-ridden incident.”

The 34-year-old woman who authorities say was kicked and punched martial arts-style was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.

A no-bail warrant was issued for Finger on charges of assault and reckless endangerment. Parker said the arrest warrant will be served when he is physically able to be taken into custody.

Parker said that could take a while.

“The injuries to the man were dramatic,” he said.

Finger’s condition was not immediately available Wednesday. If his injuries are severe, he likely will have to be flown to Seattle for treatment as Alaska does not have a burn unit.

A check of court documents shows charges filed against Finger going back to 2002. Charges range from traffic violations to assault. In early January, he was charged with assault in what is now a closed case.

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