Investigation Discovery’s ‘Obsession: Dark Desires: Burning Love’ narrates how domestic abuser Roger Hargrave set his wife on fire in Clinton, Maryland, in October 2005 after she refused to stay in her abusive marriage. The act of barbarity and the casual way he committed it in full public view without even attempting to cover up his identity is shocking. So who is Roger, and where is he now? Let us find out.
Who is Roger Hargrave?
Roger Byron Hargrave was a single parent, raising a boy from a previous relationship, and worked as a mail clerk at a Maryland corporate office in the earlier part of the first decade of the millennium. He met Yvette Cade through the latter’s aunt, Carol Bryant, and they married soon. Yvette was also a single mother with a little girl named Champane. According to the show, Roger had a charming personality and an assertive nature that attracted Yvette initially.
However, Roger began to show his true colors within the first few months of the couple’s marriage. The signs at the beginning were trivial, and Yvette tried to accommodate her best. But enforcing his choice of clothes and abusing her for allegedly not doing her domestic chores soon transformed into drunken attempts of rape and even once slashing her hands for refusing to have a physical relationship with him. Like most abusers, Roger was manipulative and always apologized after his frequent outbreaks of temper.
Yvette’s aunt, Carol, said, “You couldn’t even call their home without having to listen to him in the background making vulgar remarks and screaming and hollering.” Yvette initially tried to hide her scars with long-sleeved clothes and dark shades, but her family realized what was happening soon enough. She lamented on the show, “The first year of my marriage, there was physical abuse. The last three years were verbal … The verbal abuse. The verbal attacks. The verbal assaults. Even though somebody is not physically hitting you, it’s the constant chipping away at your self-esteem.”
According to the show, Roger had a brother named Lee Bell, who was tragically murdered in April 2001. Yvette alleged Roger’s drinking habit became more concerning every year when his brother’s death anniversary approached. He would visit his brother’s grave and their childhood home and drink himself to oblivion. Taking heed of his abusive nature and unstable nature, Yvette decided to get separated, and Roger moved out of her house. However, he continued to torment and harass Yvette and her daughter by constantly calling and stalking them.
Where is Roger Hargrave Now?
In July 2005, Yvette got a protective order against her former husband, citing the harassment meted out to her. However, Roger approached the court and appealed against the restraint, claiming he and Yvette would attend marriage counseling. Despite her constant appeals and desperate pleas not to, Prince George’s District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo dismissed the order during a September 19 hearing. Less than a month later, the abusive former husband attacked Yvette on October 10, dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire.
According to news reports, Roger committed the blatant act of barbarity in full public view and did not even attempt to conceal his identity. Witnesses claimed he entered the store in the 8900 block of Woodyard Road in a strip mall shopping center near Andrews Air Force Base at around 10:30 am. He clutched a 20-ounce green Sprite bottle filled with gasoline and flung the gas at his former wife’s face. He chased her to the back of the store and continued to hurl the gasoline at her before lighting matches and setting her on fire.
Roger was charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault and was arrested immediately. According to news reports, he had a history of arrests and convictions dating back to a 1989 conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was also found guilty of robbery in 1994 and convicted of drug charges and being a felon in possession of a gun in 1997. He was sentenced to life with the chance of parole and appealed against his conviction multiple times. However, the court dismissed them each time, and the 51-year-old remains incarcerated at the Jessup Correctional Institution.
Read More: Where is Abuse Survivor Yvette Cade Now?