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Woman Charged With Arson, Assault Arrested

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Rhonda Arkley, Apple Valley, house, fire, charged

The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office said Rhonda Arkley was arrested Dec. 27, 2010. She is accused of attacking her husband with an exercise weight, lighting their house on fire, trying to get away from police and stabbing herself with a screwdriver on Dec. 2, according to the Associated Press. (credit: Dakota County Jail)

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HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – An Apple Valley woman charged with assault, arson and trying to escape the police is in jail Monday night, according to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department.

Rhonda Lee Arkley, 49, is accused of attacking her husband with an exercise weight, throwing gas on him and trying to light him on fire on Dec. 2. She’s accused of then setting their house on fire, stabbing herself with a screwdriver and driving away from police.

It happened in the morning at her home at 4754 142nd Street West.  Police officers deployed road spikes on Pilot Knob Road at Cliff Road, which flattened her tires and stopped her vehicle.

As officers ran up to the vehicle, Arkley was using a hammer to pound screwdriver into her chest. Officers took her into custody and administered first aid.

She was later transported to Regions Hospital to be treated for self-inflicted stab wounds and burns. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said she would be jailed as soon as she left the hospital.

Her husband was also taken to Regions Hospital for burn treatment.

If convicted, the first degree arson charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The second degree assault charge, involving a dangerous weapon and substantial bodily harm, can result up to 10 years. For fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, up to three years and one day in prison.

Sentences for each of these crimes can also include thousands of dollars in fines, in place of or in addition to prison time.

She is scheduled to make her first appearance in court Tuesday morning.

On Nov. 17, police were called to the residence to investigate the death of Arkley’s 22-year-old son, who was found dead in his bedroom. There were no obvious signs of trauma, according to police.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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