A Georgia man is charged with m*urder after police say he b*urned his boyfriend alive on Friday.
Ricky Cooper, 31, is accused of ki*lling Luis Edgardo Gonzalez Jr., 34, whose body was discovered by firefighters as they worked to put out a massive blaze in Augusta early Friday.
The Augusta Fire Department (AFD) said that Gonzalez was “deceased” when they discovered his body just after 2 a.m. in the “front room behind a door” of the house.
Investigators with the AFD soon determined the blaze to be an act of arson, at which time members of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) were called to the scene to begin a criminal investigation.
Deputies determined that Gonzalez had been mu*rdered and that same day arrested Cooper, according to Richmond County jail records.
In addition to charges of mu*rder and arson in the first degree, Cooper is also charged with possession of methamphetamine.
The Augusta Press reports that authorities said Cooper barricaded the front door of the home using a large cooler with cinder blocks and a 50-pound weight, then used an incendiary device and accelerant to start a fire in the rear of the home.
The Augusta Press also reports that the two men were homeless, and that Cooper told authorities he was tired of Hernandez invading his “personal space.”
Two members of the AFD also suffered bu*rns while fighting to put out the fire at the “fully engulfed house,” said the department, “one to the forearm and the other to the legs.”
Sgt. Caleb Lee of the RCSO said in a statement to Inside Edition Digital that no additional information is being released at this time.
Cooper has yet to enter a plea and is being held at Charles B. Webster Detention Center.
Court records show Cooper was arrested in April 2022 and charged with a single count of battery- family violence.
Because that crime was a “second or subsequent conviction of family violence battery against the same or another victim” according to court records, Cooper was charged with a felony and faced a minimum sentence of one year in prison.
He eventually agreed to a deal that downgraded the charge to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea, thus avoiding jail time.