TAMPA — Matthew Wong was arraigned Thursday on first-degree counts of attempted murder and arson, four months after authorities said he accidentally set himself on fire in an attempt to burn his wife.
The Wesley Chapel man was so badly burned that he appeared in court via closed circuit TV from jail. His injuries, Judge Walter Heinreich said, were too severe to risk transport.
Wong, 50, was charged with attempted murder with a weapon and attempted arson of a dwelling, both first-degree felonies. First-degree attempted murder is punishable up to life in prison. Wong pleaded not guilty.
Currently, Wong is represented by a public defender. After the hearing, Wong was escorted back to the medical ward of the jail.
Wong was in the hospital being treated for his burns from the date of the incident until he was booked in jail on April 30, officials said.
The altercation occurred early on Feb. 6, when authorities said Wong was waiting outside his wife's Carrollwood apartment.
Wong chased Gloria Davis across the apartment complex's front lawn before she escaped into a neighbor's apartment, they said. While burning bushes and grass, Wong set himself on fire.
Wong's next court date is set for July 31.