NEW: Man charged in fatal arson told PBSO that victim said she had cheated on him


A Miami man told investigators that he killed a woman and set her mobile home on fire early Saturday because she had “disrespectfully” told him in a text that she had cheated on him, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

Yulexis Sosa Rodriguez choked Lianet Ruiz Denis, 22, and hit her with “an unknown object,” according to the report. She was pronounced dead at the scene and suffered severe facial trauma, head trauma and swelling to the face, head and neck as well as defensive wounds to her arms, according to a sheriff’s report.

Sosa Rodriguez, 40, also set fire to three cars near two mobile homes along Belvedere Road in suburban West Palm Beach, according to a sheriff’s report.

Sosa Rodriguez faces charges of first-degree murder, battery with a deadly weapon, arson and burglary while armed in the incident. He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on no bond.

Little was known Monday about Ruiz Denis and her relationship with Sosa Rodriguez. Their social-media accounts list that they are both from Sagua la Grande, Cuba, a city on the island’s north coast about 175 miles east of Havana, and that they are Facebook friends. Ruiz Denis’ profile shows that she had at least one daughter. 

Sosa Rodriguez told investigators that he was so upset with Ruiz Denis that he drove to Palm Beach County in his Chevrolet pickup Friday night from Miami to confront her. It was unclear from the report whether investigators searched Sosa Rodriguez’s phone and verified he received the text.

Deputies arrived to two mobile homes on the 7800 block of Belvedere Road west of Florida’s Turnpike at about 1 a.m. and found three cars “burned beyond repair,” the report states. They detained Sosa Rodriguez when they saw him escaping from Ruiz Denis’ mobile home through a broken window.

Inside the mobile home, deputies found large amounts of blood on the bedroom walls, ceiling, and bed sheets — along with the gardening hoe.  

Four people who were in the two mobile homes at the time of the incident told deputies that Sosa Rodriguez was first seen standing outside one of the homes holding a red gas can. The first witness listed in the sheriff’s report said he went outside after hearing a loud explosion and saw Sosa Rodriguez pouring gasoline from the can onto the burning cars. 

Sosa Rodriguez allegedly threw the gas can at that man when he spotted him. Then Sosa Rodriguez then grabbed the hoe from his truck — he works in landscaping, according to the arrest report — and tried to hit the witness with it several times, according to the sheriff’s report.

Another man in one of the mobile homes told deputies that Rodriguez hit him multiple times with the hoe. The first witness tried to intervene, but Sosa Rodriguez grabbed him by the neck and said, “I am going to kill you,” the report states.

Deputies said the man Sosa Rodriguez attacked with the hoe was taken to Wellington Regional Medical Center with broken ribs, multiple bruises, lacerations, a stab wound and fractures, the report states. 

Once he was alone with Ruiz Denis in her mobile home, Sosa Rodriguez grabbed her by the neck when he saw her trying to escape, the report said. The first witness listed in the report told deputies that, from outside the residence, he heard Ruiz Denis begging Sosa Rodriguez to let her go, and that Rodriguez also was heard yelling, “I am going to kill you.”

Another woman other than Ruiz Denis who was in one of the mobile homes said Sosa Rodriguez also tried to attack her with the hoe while she tried to escape. It is unclear if she or the other two witnesses were taken to hospitals.



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