Dominican judge orders arrest in US magician case
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered the arrest of a local television show host who set fire to the hair of a U.S. magician, burning his scalp, face and arm.
The judge announced the decision just hours after TV host Franklin Barazarte told The Associated Press in a phone interview from New York that the incident was an accident. He tossed flaming liquid on Wayne Houchin's head as a "blessing" during a Nov. 26 taping of the show.
Barazarte, who was serving as guest host on an astrology and variety show called "Closer to the Stars," couldn't be immediately reached for comment after the judge issued his decision.
He said during the interview that he was in the U.S. this week for previously scheduled work commitments.
"I'm not hiding. I hope to sit down with Wayne and reach a settlement," Barazarte said. "It was a demonstration within a magical religious framework that turned out badly."
In a widely viewed video that a member of the magician's crew captured on his IPhone and posted online, Barazarte is seen trying to pat Houchin's head after it is set on fire.
"It was an accident. It was under no circumstance an intentional act," Barazarte said.
He said that he had performed similar blessings for more than 20 years and that "none of them had ever turned out badly." He said his hands also were burned during the incident.
Monica Pena, a spokeswoman for the Dominican prosecutors' office, said a doctor certified that Houchin suffered first-degree burns on his scalp, face and right arm.
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