LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - A man has been sentenced after officials say he set a woman on fire during a Lexington County domestic assault.
According to officials, Robert Rome Green, 48, was sentenced to 70 years in prison following a jury trial conviction for attempted murder and first degree arson in Lexington County.
Circuit Court Judge Debra R. McCaslin imposed sentences of 30 years on the attempted murder charge and 40 years on the first degree arson charge, to be served consecutively. Green will begin serving the sentence immediately and is not eligible for parole.
Officials say in the early morning hours of August 20, 2019, the victim was asleep in her residence on Lexington Avenue in the Cayce area of Lexington County. Green, who she was previously in a relationship with, entered her bedroom with a gas can and lighter.
The victim said that she awoke to Green pouring gasoline on her skin and clothing. She struggled to get away but Green overpowered her. While holding the victim in place, Green held the lighter to her face and ignited it.
Once on fire, the victim fled the residence and ran to a neighbor’s home for help. Multiple neighbors came to her aid and 911 was called at approximately 3:30 a.m.. A neighborhood security camera captured the victim’s screams and the frantic sound of knocking on a neighbor’s door.
When Cayce DPS arrived, the victim’s home was engulfed in flames. The victim was severely injured with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to over 60% of her body surface area, including her face, scalp, torso, back, abdomen, and arms.
She was rushed to the Prisma Richland Trauma Unit and then transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta for critical care treatment.
The victim remained hospitalized at the Augusta Burn Center for over 4 months, spending the majority of that time in critical condition and on a ventilator. She sustained permanent burn injuries and underwent multiple skin grafting procedures.
Officials say Green fled the scene shortly after law enforcement and first responders arrived to battle the fire. Surveillance video and an officer’s car camera captured Green walking away from the area.
A neighbor said that she saw the victim on fire as she was running from her residence. The neighbor described observing Green as he stood in the front yard, yelling “Take me to jail!”
SLED Arson investigator Allen Lloyd provided expert testimony during the trial that an accelerant was located in the master bedroom of the victim’s home. Arson investigators also recovered a red gas can which later tested positive for the presence of an accelerant. Clothing collected from Green led to a lighter being recovered as evidence from his shorts pocket, officials say.
During the sentencing hearing, the victim addressed the Court and expressed “no creature on this planet should go through or suffer in the manner that I, my family, and friends have.”
Following the trial, the victim elected to share photographs of her injuries with the public, in an effort to bring awareness to others who may be experiencing situations of domestic conflict or abuse. The victim also chose to share a photograph depicting her appearance prior to the infliction of the burn injuries.
This case marked the first jury trial of the year following the court ordered closure of proceedings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.