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Police: La Crosse man burned roommate with cigarette
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Police: La Crosse man burned roommate with cigarette

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A La Crosse man was in court Monday after he was accused of burning his roommate with a cigarette and dousing her in lighter fluid in two separate incidents during the past week.

LC L. Graham, 38, was arrested Sunday after a woman told police Graham physically abused her on a daily basis and used drugs to control her, showing police cigarette burns on her leg and bruises on her face.

Graham was charged in La Crosse County Circuit Court with substantial battery intending bodily harm, intimidating a victim to dissuade reporting, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, negligent handling of burning material, false imprisonment, possession of a controlled substance, three counts of battery and four counts of felony bail jumping.

According to the criminal complaint:

Graham’s roommate woke up at 12:30 a.m. Sunday to find Graham gone. She started packing her things, intending to flee, but he returned before she could leave and began punching her repeatedly, giving her large bruises on her face and swelling around her left eye. The woman then went to a neighbor’s apartment and a family member took her to the hospital, where a social worker called police.

The woman described a series of incidents from July 2-5 in which she was physically abused by Graham, according to the complaint. She told police that sometime in the early afternoon Friday she was arguing with Graham when he stepped outside. He returned with a white plastic bottle of lighter fluid for their grill and began dousing her clothes, according to the complaint. He grabbed a rag and the lit the end of it with a lighter. When the woman screamed, he said, “Next time you try to leave, I will burn you,” according to the complaint.

She also told police that he had dumped water in her vehicle’s gas tank, changed the online passwords from her bank accounts and regularly takes her phone away so she can’t communicate with her friends, according to the complaint.

Graham denied the woman’s accusations Sunday, saying she hit her head on a cabinet Sunday, and fallen down a flight of stairs last week.

A neighbor told police Graham had never hit the woman in front of others, but described an incident in which the woman upset Graham, he balled up his fists and insisted everyone leave except the woman, according to the complaint. The neighbor went on to say that the woman left a short time later with new injuries.

Graham was arrested without incident Sunday and police found ecstasy and a debit card in the victim’s name in his pockets, according to the complaint.

Judge Ramona Gonzalez granted prosecutors’ request for a $2,500 cash bond and set a preliminary hearing for 11 a.m. July 13. If Graham posts bond, he will be subject to GPS monitoring by Justice Support Services and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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