Officials charge man hired arsonist to set deadly fire
ABBY WEINGARTEN
Herald Staff Writer

MANATEE - A man who police say was a stalker bent on killing his ex-girlfriend and her mother may have hired someone else to do his dirty work July 6.

Yan Domenech, 26, of Bradenton, was re-arrested and charged Tuesday with criminal solicitation in connection with an arson at Woodcrest Apartment C-5, 4915 26th St. W., Manatee County Sheriff's Office Detective Bill Waldron said.

The fire that Sunday morning at about 6:15 killed 51-year-old Bradenton man David Keith. The victim had been staying at the residence of Domenech's ex-girlfriend Kylie Lee and her mother, Kathy Lee.

Keith died in an upstairs bedroom closet. Four others in the apartment - Kathy Lee, 44, her son Michael Lee, 24, his girlfriend, Shanna Matz, 23, and friend Stacie Carr, 32 - awoke and escaped.

On July 25, Domenech was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking and booked into the Manatee County jail without bail. At that time, investigators said they suspected Domenech of setting the fire.

Kylie Lee had recently broken up with Domenech. Kylie Lee's mother, Kathy Lee, sought violence injunctions against Domenech, which he later violated, Waldron said.

A vengeful Domenech initially agreed to pay someone $1,000 to set fire to the Lees' residence, investigators said.

However, as Domenech and his accomplice were leaving Domenech's house at 3004 34th Ave. Drive W. on June 24, detectives arrested Domenech on a charge of introducing contraband into a detention facility, court records showed.

A few days prior to the arson, Domenech bonded out of jail and began making intimidating phone calls to Kylie Lee's family. When Kylie Lee heard that Domenech was out of jail, she left her mother's house to stay in Sarasota with a friend, Waldron said. Kathy Lee had been allowing Keith, whom she met at a methadone clinic, to stay at the apartment for about two months.

An acquaintance of Domenech's is now a suspect in the arson, Waldron said. Waldron is also talking to the man Domenech initially paid. Both are in jail on other charges, Waldron said, and he is working on arrest warrants.

"It's all coming together," said Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. "We have a good idea who did carry it out, and charges will be forthcoming."

Kylie Lee and Kathy Lee are staying with relatives in Bradenton and were "hanging in there" Tuesday afternoon, Waldron said.

Domenech, who is represented by a public defender, has been avoiding questioning, Waldron said.

"He didn't want to talk to me this morning," Waldron said Tuesday. "Initially, when I talked to him back in July he said that I didn't know what I was talking about and that he had nothing to do with this."

The day of the fire, Domenech approached two men at 5 a.m., a little more than an hour before the arson, and asked to borrow a gas can, Waldron said. Domenech, who his friends called "Puerto Rican John," claimed that a friend's car had run out of gas. The two men said they did not own a gas can but suggested Domenech purchase one at Wal-Mart. Domenech drove off with a man identified as "Cousin Mike" in a black Ford Explorer.

Around 7:30 a.m., after the fire, Domenech picked up a friend, went to his mother's house and took a shower with his clothes on. Domenech then drove his friend by Woodcrest Apartments and stopped his sport utility vehicle, according to investigative documents.

Testimony from Kathy Lee and other witnesses gave detectives probable cause to execute search warrants on Domenech's mother's house and his house, Waldron said.