Donna man faces arson, attempted capital murder charge

Man’s ex-girlfriend was in building with new partner

DONNA — A man here said “voices” told him to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new romantic partner by setting fire to a building earlier this week.

Armando Garza Olivarez, 24, of Donna, faced arson and attempted capital murder charges for allegedly setting fire to a building while his ex-girlfirend and another man slept inside.

Donna police responded to a call of a structure fire at about 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of South Main Street and observed heavy smoke emanating from a building that was engulfed in flames.

One officer responding to the call for service, encountered a man walking away from the building, later identified as a 23-year-old Donna man. The Monitor is not identifying him as he is the alleged victim in this incident.

The man voluntarily spoke with the officer and admitted that he and his girlfriend, a 41-year-old Donna woman, were staying in the building and were upstairs asleep when the fire began.

“(The man) alleged that (Olivarez) was the individual who started the fire,” the criminal complaint against Olivarez states.

At the same time, the complaint states, another officer encountered Olivarez at the city park bus stop.

“In the presence of DPD officers stated above, (the man) shouted at (Olivarez), accusing the defendant of starting the fire, telling him, ‘look what you did, you were trying to burn me and my girl,’ the complaint states.

The officers spoke with the 41-year-old woman, who provided a sworn affidavit in which she stated Olivarez showed up to the building around 4 a.m. that morning wanting to “smoke,” with her.

She refused to go downstairs, so Olivarez “gave up and began to call her a whore and other names” and went downstairs, the affidavit indicated.

At about 6 a.m., the woman was awakened by a loud crackling noise and heat coming from under her mattress; she subsequently noticed smoke coming from the first level of the building.

(The woman) later disclosed she was in a prior relationship with (Olivarez).

A witness told police they saw a man on a bicycle with tattoos on his face and arms, wearing a black and tan shirt with “boss” written on it. The witness said he knew the suspect as ‘Mando.’

According to the witness, ‘Mando’ said, “I just lit the building, f*** my girl and f*** that dude. I took some cardboard and started the fire.”

In an interview with police, Olivarez allegedly admitted to using a lighter to start a fire while both  the woman and another man were sleeping in the building, claiming “the voices told him to kill them.”

As of Friday afternoon, Olivarez was still in custody at the Hidalgo County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond, jail officials said.

Olivarez has a criminal history dating back to December 2013, with arrests in connection with harassment, assault, and burglary of habitation charges, to name a few.

If convicted of attempted capital murder, a second degree felony, Olivarez faces up to 20 years in prison.