- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005


Weeks before a woman was doused with gasoline and set on fire, a Prince George’s County judge dismissed a protective order, ignoring her pleas that her husband was intimidating her, according to audio recordings released yesterday.

The clerk’s office of the Prince George’s County Courts released audio of a nearly four-minute exchange between Yvette Cade and District Judge Richard A. Palumbo recorded during a Sept. 19 hearing.

“The tape kind of speaks for itself,” said State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey. He speculated that if Judge Palumbo had a chance to reconsider his decision to dismiss a protective order Mrs. Cade obtained in August, he probably would do things differently.

Mrs. Cade, 31, remains hospitalized in critical condition with burns covering 60 percent of her body. She was working in a cellular telephone store in Clinton on Monday when Roger B. Hargrave confronted her and poured gasoline on her, prosecutors said.

When she tried to run away, witnesses told investigators, Hargrave chased her and set her afire outside the store.

The hearing was prompted by a letter Hargrave wrote in August in which he asked Judge Palumbo to rescind a protective order against him.

“I feel counseling may save our marriage,” Hargrave wrote. The handwritten letter was filed with the court.

In the exchange released yesterday, Mrs. Cade tells Judge Palumbo that Hargrave had violated the order repeatedly by contacting her, intimidating her daughter and other members of her family, and vandalizing the property of others.

“My husband is trying to stall our divorce,” Mrs. Cade tells Judge Palumbo, who suggests that she obtain an attorney and go to family court to pursue a divorce.

When Mrs. Cade says she does not have money for a divorce attorney, Judge Palumbo advises her to seek help from the House of Ruth Maryland, a domestic violence program that had represented her in the past.

“Go back and ask them how to handle it,” Judge Palumbo says. He tells her he has “to be independent like an umpire” before concluding the hearing.

Calls to Judge Palumbo’s office were not returned.

Hargrave, 33, remains jailed without bond on attempted murder and assault charges. Mr. Ivey said it is unlikely that the case will go to trial before late spring.

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