Detroit woman accused of setting boyfriend on fire while he was sleeping
A Detroit woman is accused of trying to kill her ex-boyfriend by setting his house on fire on the city's west side.
Witnesses to the fire on Kentucky Street saw the flames and rushed in to help 58-year-old Yul Atkins as the flames spread and helped pull the man to safety. Now, the man's girlfriend is in custody and accused of intentionally setting the fire.
"He was like, rolling on the ground crying, screaming," said Antonio Robinson, a neighbor. "He was saying 'She tried to kill me, I can't believe she'd do this.'"
Neighbors and family of Atkins described what happened as unbelievable. Detroit police said the fire started late Thursday night, just before midnight, when Atkins got into a fight with his 48-year-old live-in girlfriend, Carmen Deshazer. The two had been drinking before arguing.
She decided to get back at him by spraying the front of the house with lighter fluid. She also sprayed him and around the bed he was sleeping in, police say, and then lit it on fire.
A couple driving by spotted the flames coming out of the bedroom window and stopped to help. Atkins' next-door neighbor, Antonio Robinson, says the couple alerted him and called for help while trying to save Atkins.
"They banged on the door and they said they finally got the guy out and somebody to open the front door," Robinson said. "When they got him out they came and got me, the guy's girlfriend was doing CPR right on the front lawn there."
Robinson says that's when he saw Deshazer, still in her underwear.
"The young lady was standing at the side of the house yelling 'yeah, I did it, I tried to kill him.'"
The fire was promptly put out and Atkins is now recovering in the hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.
"He had bruises, a bruise on his face it looked like a knot or something," Robinson said.
Robinson's home is very close to Atkins' and he said he didn't know what would have happened if the couple wouldn't have showed up.
Atkins' family agrees and called the couple guardian angels.
"It had to been an angel to pull him out of there, that was just the hands of the Lord to help my brother," said Jimmie Atkins, the victim's brother.
Deshazer is now behind bars and was arraigned Friday on charges of assault with intent to murder and first-degree arson. Atkins is expected to be okay.