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    Saturday, March 02, 2024

    Norwich man accused of trying to set his wife on fire

    A Norwich man is accused of trying to set his wife on fire last week, court records show. 

    Mark Kudlach, 56, of 81 Corning Road was arraigned Friday in Norwich Superior Court on charges of first-degree arson, attempt to commit second-degree assault, third-degree assault and disorderly conduct. 

    Norwich police said that about 3 p.m. Thursday they responded to Kudlach's home for a report that he attempted to set his wife on fire.  

    When police arrived at the residence, they found ashes scattered all over the living room and the odor of smoke throughout, the police report said.  

    The alleged victim, who was not seriously injured, told police that she had been married to Kudlach for nine months. She said that she went to his workshop, which is behind their home, and asked him why he wasn't returning her calls.  

    She told police that Kudlach yelled at her, called her names and pointed his finger in her face. 

    The woman told police that she left the workshop and entered her car to park it in the driveway. She said Kudlach followed her back to the house, still hurling insults.

    She said she started to cry and picked up a picture frame with their wedding certificate and picture of their wedding and placed it in a box.  

    Kudlach told her that he was going to start a "bonfire," she said. She told police he began to squirt lighter fluid all over the box and floor and she felt the liquid on her pants, the report said. Kudlach lit the box on fire near the couch, she said, and she attempted to move the box because she didn't want the couch to catch fire. 

    Kudlach dared her to go near the fire and proceeded to squirt her a second time with the lighter fluid, she told police. He shut the front door so she couldn't leave and held her with his hand and tried to pull her toward the fire, she said. 

    The woman said as she called police Kudlach tried to stop her and punched her in the face.  

    She said while she was on the phone with police, she saw Kudlach stomp on the box and take it outside to his car. 

    A state police K9 team and the city fire inspector were among those responding. The dog detected the presence of an accelerant on the couch, on the woman's pants and shoes and on the box of paper, the police report said. 

    Police apprehended Kudlach about an hour later. He waived his right to remain silent and gave a different account of what had happened, police reported. 

    He said they started to argue over her spending habits and how she wasn't contributing to the household. He said he told her to pack her bags and leave. He said his wife began to "throttle" him. 

    He told police that he left the workshop and went to the house to defuse the argument, but that she continued to throw insults at him. He said he did not respond. 

    He said she grabbed their marriage certificate and threw it on the floor. He said he noticed that a box outside the house was on fire. He said he picked up the box and extinguished it because it contained all of their memories. 

    He said she threatened him and was going to accuse him of "arsonist behavior." He told police that he placed the box in his vehicle and then took off before they arrived. 

    Kudlach posted a $150,000 bond after his arraignment Thursday. His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 29.

    i.larraneta@theday.com

    Twitter: @larraneta

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