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Tennessee Man Allegedly Sets Girlfriend on Fire After Breakup


A Tennessee man has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly setting his girlfriend on fire when she tried to break up with him.

Kenneth Upshaw, 38, has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly dousing his girlfriend in gasoline and setting her ablaze.

Memphis Police met with the victim, Rebecca Briggs, at the Regional Medical Hospital on October 9, according to Fox News. Briggs has second-degree burns on her neck, face, arms, and chest, according to the outlet. It was reportedly difficult for authorities to understand what she said during the interview due to the facial burns she sustained.

The alleged incident occurred on October 8 as Upshaw and his girlfriend Briggs argued when she informed him that she wanted to end their relationship, according to WREG.

Police say that Briggs was standing near Upshaw’s car in a driveway during the argument, according to WREG. Upshaw told her if he could not be with her then no one could, according to police.

Soon thereafter, Upshaw allegedly doused her in gasoline and threw a lit cigarette at her, setting her ablaze, according to WREG.

ABC 24 reports that Briggs said she did not know how the fire was put out, but she was able to escape to her vehicle and drive to a friend’s home. The outlet reports, the next day, she went to Regional Medical Center’s burn unit to receive treatment for her injuries.

Authorities investigated the home where the incident allegedly took place and discovered a 2016 Honda Accord with burns on the back of the vehicle, a melted bumper, and a red gas can, according to Fox News.

WREG reports that Briggs and Upshaw did not live at the residence. The homeowner reportedly said that Upshaw was present at the residence earlier in the day but added that he was unaware of what took place in the driveway. Someone allegedly informed the homeowner that a car was on fire in the driveway. The man said he and a friend put the fire out, according to WREG.

“It was pretty bad. I mean, it burned the whole back end and part of the back driver’s side and started to get where the gas tank is, and I thought it was going to explode,” the man told WREG. 

The outlet reports that Briggs and Upshaw have a child together, and domestic violence has been prevalent in the relationship. Police say Upshaw punched her in the stomach when she was eight months pregnant, which forced her to deliver their baby a month earlier than the due date, according to WREG.  

Fox News reports Upshaw awaits his initial court appearance.

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