Essex County

Peabody man charged with trying to kill girlfriend by setting apartment on fire with a blow torch

PEABODY, Mass. — 39-year-old Edi Diazabakana was arraigned in Peabody District Court in a horrific case of alleged domestic violence Wednesday afternoon.

Police say at about 11 p.m. Tuesday, Diazabkana tried to kill his girlfriend and her mother inside their Peabody apartment by using gasoline and a blow torch to set it on fire.

Neighbor Evillyn Chagas called 911 after seeing a distressed woman outside the complex’s front door.

“She came outside running without clothes, and I saw she burned her leg,” Chagas said. “She said ‘I told my husband we weren’t going to be together, and he set the bed on fire.’”

Edi Diazabakana is facing multiple charges including assault with intent to murder, assault and battery on a family member, arson, and kidnapping.

At Peabody District Court, the victim’s sister described what happened.

“She woke up with the feeling of water or moisture on her, followed by heat,” said the sister who only provided her first name, Sasha. “When she opened her eyes, he was pouring some type of accelerant, lighted it on fire. She tried to get out of the room, he held her in there. My mother tried to help; he fought her off.”

Edi Diazabakana’s lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

His family is supporting him, saying, they do not believe these allegations.

“I really feel like there’s got to be some kind of mistake or setup, I just don’t see him doing it. It’s just not possible,” said his sister, Nkasa Diazabakana.

“He is a decent man. I know this is a setup. But the truth always prevails. I know that for sure,” said Sola Diazabakana, another sister.

Edi Diazabakana was ordered held without bail until a dangerousness hearing can be held on August 16.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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