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Man accused of lighting woman on fire with gasoline and cigarette

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Kenneth Upshaw appeared in court for the first time just a day after turning himself in after being accused of setting his girlfriend on fire.

38-year-old Kenneth Upshaw stood before Judge William Turner Friday morning with charges of criminal attempted second-degree murder and domestic assault-bodily harm.

In an affidavit released by Memphis police, Upshaw allegedly got into an argument with his girlfriend when she told him she did not want to date him anymore.

Upshaw reportedly said to her, quote, “if he could not be with her, then no one would.”

The affidavit states that Upshaw then splashed her with gasoline and threw a lit cigarette on her. The woman is not sure how the fire was extinguished but reported she then got in her car and drove to a friend’s house.

She was taken to the hospital in critical condition with second-degree burns on 16% of her body, including her face, neck, chest and arms.

There was another incident report filed two days later that says Upshaw assaulted his girlfriend again.

It also states the couple’s domestic violence history dates back to 2017.

Upshaw turned himself into police early Thursday morning.

Upshaw’s Attorney says the case is in the very early stages.

“Right now he’s entered a plea of not guilty and we’ve requested a new court date of October 28,” attorney Brandon Hall said.

Upshaw’s bond is set at $250,000.

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