Alabama woman dies after being doused in gasoline, set ablaze

Reuters

(Reuters) - An Alabama woman whose former boyfriend doused her in gasoline and set her on fire died early on Tuesday after two days in the hospital, authorities said.

Deborah Diane Prater, 49, had recently ended her three-year relationship with Michael Kennedy, 48, when police say he came to her house in a Birmingham suburb early on Sunday and argued with her before setting her ablaze.

"It's a totally senseless and violent loss of life," said Sergeant Jack Self, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. "This is a special kind of evil that has no place existing in our society."

Kennedy fled in Prater's sport utility vehicle and was arrested on Monday about five miles away by U.S. Marshals. He was initially charged with attempted murder - a charge likely to be upgraded with Prater's death.

Prater, who suffered burns on her head, face, chest, arms and legs, was hospitalized in serious condition before turning for the worse on Monday night, Self said.

She died just after midnight on Tuesday, he said.

Kennedy, who remains in jail on a $250,000 bond, has a criminal record that includes arrests for robbery and assault, Self said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has no record of earlier instances of domestic violence involving Kennedy and Prater, Self said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky)

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