UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A man who was accused of dousing his pregnant girlfriend in gasoline and setting her on fire in Prince George’s County addressed the media one day after being found not guilty by a jury.
After four hours of deliberation, a jury found Laquinn Phillips not guilty on all counts, including attempted murder, after authorities alleged set his pregnant girlfriend Andrea Grinage on fire inside her apartment on Elkwood Lane in Capitol Heights in September 2017.
The acquittal came after an eight-day long trial in Prince George's County Circuit Court and was greeted several outburst and commotion inside and outside the court.
Phillips addressed the media in Upper Marlboro on Friday and said it "felt great to have my freedom back" after spending a year and a half in jail.
"It's been a long journey but we prospered and I'm happy, I'm thankful and I'm blessed," Phillips said. "I'm just happy to be back with my family and loved ones and my supporters."
Prince George's County States Attorney Aisha Braveboy argued that Phillips set Grinage on fire because he did not want their child she was carrying at the time.
"It was frustrating, especially knowing that you were wrongfully accused of something you didn't do," Phillips stated. "I withstood my innocence and I trusted in God and he put a great lawyer in my path and I knew we would prosper."
Shortly after Phillips held his press conference, Grinage and her family held a press conference in the District.
“I think he is the devil in person. That he can sit and talk about God after what he did to me. That this man told me he loved me before he set me on fire," she said.
Grinage, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, suffered burns to a large part of her body and was rushed to the burn unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where she gave birth early to the baby girl she was carrying.
The child, named Journey, and Grinage were in critical condition but have since been released from the hospital and are recovering. Grinage disputed Phillips' attorney Jay Wyndal Gordon's claims that she set herself on fire.
"Anyone who knows me knows I would never set myself on fire and how much I looked forward to my baby girl being born," Grinage said. "He (Phillips) was in a love triangle and he made his choice and he decided to end me and my daughter’s life and he wasn’t successful. He’s a liar. Just because he was proven not guilty, according to those 12 people, does not mean that he’s innocent. He definitely did it. Everybody knows that he did it."
Gordon said he will work to unite Phillips with Journey in the future, which is something Grinage said she would actively fight.
"I believe if he was ever to come in contact with me and my daughter he would try to harm us again," Grinage said. "He is not permitted anywhere near my daughter. They will never have a relationship."
Grinage's family said they were attempting to request a review to determine if there was any judicial misconduct in the trial. The family also stated they were attempting to get a protective order against Phillips.