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Man to face trial for setting Springdale girlfriend on fire

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Clinton C. Cohen, suspect in burning of Springdale woman on Feb. 28, 2013. WPXI

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Monday, April 22, 2013, 12:12 p.m.
 

A Springdale woman testified on Monday that her boyfriend held her 3-month-old baby out of a second-story window in February just before setting her on fire.

After Monday's preliminary hearing, Clinton C. Cohen, 27, of Hill Street, Wilkinsburg, was ordered to stand trial for attempted homicide, arson and other charges.

District Judge David J. Sosovicka refused an attorney's request to reduce Cohen's $1 million bond to $500,000. Sosovicka ordered Cohen returned to the Allegheny County Jail to await trial.

Victim Maria Redman, 22, formerly of Pittsburgh Street, Springdale, was the only witness to testify.The sleeveless blouse she wore to the hearing showed the extent of the burns she had suffered to her arms, neck and chest.

Redman testified Cohen arrived at her apartment about 4:30 a.m. Feb. 28 and an argument ensued in her bedroom.

As the argument escalated, Cohen jumped off the bed, grabbed the baby girl out of the crib, and dangled her out a window above a gravel driveway, Redman testified.

Redman said she pleaded for the child's safety. Cohen, she testified, was holding the girl only by her one-piece sleeper and said he didn't care about the child.

After she persuaded him to give her the baby, the argument continued. Redman testified that her cellphone, the only phone in the apartment, and her glasses were next to Cohen and out of reach, so she couldn't call for help.

Redman testified Cohen punched her, breaking her nose and causing a lot of bleeding, before shoving her back onto the bed and climbing on top of her.

Redman said Cohen choked her, she blacked out, revived and he choked her twice more.

That's when, she testified, that he doused her with perfume and lit it.

“Then he takes a blanket off the bed and puts it on me to put the fire out. He's apologizing: ‘I'm so sorry, baby,' ” she testified.

“I ran into the bathroom to put cold water on the burns, and he said no, it would only make it hurt worse. That's when he handed me my cell and glasses,” she testified, briefly dabbing tears.Cohen left before police arrived. After a two-day manhunt, he was arrested March 3 in a Marshall-Shadeland residence by Pittsburgh police.

Redman testified she suffered second- and third-degree burns and was hospitalized for nine days.

She showed no emotion when she pointed at Cohen to identify him as her assailant.

Prosecutors on Monday added a second count of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly holding the child out the window.

Cohen also is charged with multiple counts of assault, reckless endangerment, and risking a catastrophe as well as attempted homicide and arson.Outside the courtroom, Redman said she was very thankful to all who have and are helping her.

“I have the best friends,” she said. “The best family.”

Attorney Frankie C. Walker II, who is representing Cohen, said the matter is a “sad case for everyone.”

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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