PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – A man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty to charges that he set a woman on fire during a robbery in Palestine back in February 2019.
Robert Thompson pled guilty to aggravated assault and arson charges on Monday and a jury sentenced him to life in prison.
On February 21, 2019, Thompson went into the Pit Stop gas station on Link St., pulled a gun, and tied up the female cashier, Linda Camire. A customer, Della Witt-Denizeri, walked in on the robbery, he tied her up as well behind the counter.
After stealing all the money from the register, he then set Witt-Denizeri on fire. Before leaving the store, he stopped to watch both victims burn. Thompson then went to a shoe carnival in Tyler to trade out his shoes for new ones.
Thompson headed backed to Palestine where he was later arrested at a convenience store with the weapon in hand.
Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell called the crime a “wanton disregard for human life.”
Both victims testified how his choices that day have forever changed their lives. Setting another human being on fire is truly horrifying. This was an intentional act. The most disturbing part of his crime is that after he started the fire and headed out the store he stopped and stared at his victims while they screamed and the customer burned.Allyson Mitchell
In an interview just days after the crime, Witt-Denizeri held a press conference telling the story of her survival.
“To be a hero, it doesn’t take saving somebody’s life. It takes being kind every day, noticing the good that somebody has versus what they don’t have.,” said Witt-Denizeri.