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Scorned woman accused of trying to burn down ex’s home released on I-bond

Ashley Howell, 29, allegedly tried to burn down the apartment building of a former flame after he broke her heart. | Chicago Police Department

Cook County prosecutors say a woman set a fire in her ex-boyfriend’s apartment building last month after getting her heart broken.

According to the police report, 29-year-old Ashley Howell was allegedly observed lighting clothing and a garbage can in the laundry room of her former boyfriend’s apartment even though she knew others were on the property; there are four units in the building. No one was hurt.

Prosecutors said the victim’s sister received a text from Howell saying she was going to burn down the house.

Afterward, Howell allegedly laughed about setting the fire and said he ex “shouldn’t have broken my heart.”

Charles Snowden, who represented Howell in bond court Saturday, said there were discrepancies between the police and prosecutor narratives. He specifically pointed to prosecutors saying Howell was not observed setting the fire when the police report says she was.

“People are innocent until proven guilty, and my client maintains that position,” Snowden said.

Howell, who is charged with aggravated arson, appeared before Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. The mother of three has no prior felony arrests, Snowden said.

“This is extremely serious,” Lyke said. “The answer to a broken heart is counseling, not setting fire to the building.”

Lyke released Howell on a $10,000 I-bond with electronic monitoring and also ordered her to have no contact with the victim. Her next court date is Dec. 6.