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Fla. Landlord Sets Tenant on Fire Over Late Rent

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 30, 2011 6:53 AM

South Florida landlord Jonathan Steinberg is being held on aggravated battery charges after he reportedly set his tenant, Ronald Rohde, on fire after one too many late rent checks.

However, the incident, which allegedly involved a screwdriver to the back, might have additionally been motivated by other frustrations.

The pair also happen to be roommates.

Jonathan Steinberg and Ronald Rohde were arguing over finances when Rohde demanded that Steinberg leave his room, according to Boynton Beach police.

Steinberg left only to return with rubbing alcohol and a screwdriver, reports the Sun Sentinel..

After allegedly stabbing Rohde in the back, the Palm Beach Post reports that Steinberg doused his tenant's boxers in alcohol and then lit them on fire with a lighter.

The story has been corroborated by a third roommate who witnessed the fight.

Because Rohde was left relatively unscathed, Steinberg is only being charged with aggravated assault, which is when a person, by action, threatens to harm another with a deadly weapon. Battery requires a higher degree of harm.

However, it's unclear whether he will stand trial for this crime.

The judge in charge of the case ordered that Jonathan Steinberg undergo a mental health assessment according to the Palm Beach Post. He either presented as slightly unhinged during his arraignment, or the request was made by his attorney.

If found to be incompetent, Jonathan Steinberg is unlikely to stand trial any time soon, which means that he possibly will never be punished for setting Ronald Rohde on fire.

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