Loventino Cassadean, 49, of Freeport was taken into custody for questioning after he flagged down a police officer responding to the house fire early Monday. He was later arrested and arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead Tuesday. Information on an attorney wasn't immediately available.
Nassau County police say Cassadean's 22-year-old wife, Felicia, was found dead in a bed that had been set on fire. She also had stab wounds. A medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the victim's identity and cause of death.
Witnesses said a family with two children lived in the house where the fire had been, but neighbors said they thought the children were staying with their grandmother in Guyana.
"It's horrible, it's terrible," said one witness, who did not know the family. "This is really a big surprise to the neighborhood and it's really a true tragedy."
Cassadean was jailed without bail after his court appearance Tuesday.
In an unrelated case, he was arrested in Nassau County in April and charged with a criminal sexual act, police said. That case remains open.