A man is behind bars after he set ablaze the Hialeah house where his child and his ex-girlfriend live, police said.
Joel Miguel Martos, 48, pleaded not guilty to arson, burglary, aggravated stalking and a protective injunction violation in Miami-Dade court Monday afternoon.
He is being held on $35,000 bond, and if he is released he will be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring, according to online Miami-Dade court records.
Police said Martos, who was angry at the mother of his child, went to her house while she was in the Florida Keys and started the blaze.
Police released surveillance video they said shows Martos riding up on his bike and eventually breaking into the home where his daughter lives with her mother Caridad Borroto and grandmother. Once inside, he started a fire that did significant damage to the home, according to police.
On another occasion, Martos can be seen on camera breaking the back window of a car outside the home, police said.
“Why would he have done something like this? Out of anger, and out of jealousy that he couldn’t be around them. That’s the only thing that I can think of,” said Barbara Morales, a cousin of Caridad Borroto.
Morales spoke to NBC 6 as Borroto, who is deaf and mute, sat beside her.
Martos, who is also deaf and mute, said through sign language in court that he lives with his mother and receives SSI benefits because he is hearing-impaired. He said he does not have money for an attorney.
Relatives said there were happy times when Martos and Borroto were dating. But when she broke up with him, that changed and there allegedly have been threats since.
“It’s a reoccurring issue. He’s visited the house multiple times. He’s vandalized her vehicle, broken windows, broken the front door,” Morales said. “He’s been pretty much doing everything that he told all of us that he would do.”