PEABODY - A Peabody man faced a judge Wednesday on charges he tried to kill his girlfriend and set their apartment on fire.
Police were called to the Tanner City Residences on Lowell Street around 11 p.m. Tuesday. They said a woman was yelling for help and that "her boyfriend was trying to kill her."
According to the police report, the woman told police she felt heat near her feet and she woke up to her bed on fire and 39-year-old Edi Diazabakana holding a torch and a red gas can. He allegedly told her "You're going to die tonight" and then punched her repeatedly. Police said the couple had just broken up.
Evilynn Chagas called 911 and helped two women as they escaped from the fire.
"A lady came, like, running through the door and she was yelling and yelling. I couldn't understand anything that she was saying," said Chagas.
Firefighters put out the fire in their apartment. Diazabakana was arrested and charged with attempted murder, arson, domestic assault and battery and kidnapping. He's also accused of attacking the victim's mother.
"My mother tried to help but he fought her off," said Sasha, the victim's sister. "My mother ran out to get help and it was only by the grace of God that my sister and my mother are both alive right now."
Diazabakana's family told a different story. They said he's a loving father of two children from a previous marriage, a hardworking immigrant and brother to seven siblings with no criminal record.
"He never raises his voice," said his sister, Nkasa Diazabakana. "He never even raises his voice to us. It's just impossible for him, all of the charges that they are raising. My heart is broken, I don't see him doing it."
Diazabakana is being held without bail and is due back in court next Wednesday.
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