Judge sets bond for man accused of setting girlfriend on fire
LADSON, SC (WCSC) - A Ladson man accused of setting his girlfriend on fire says she caught herself on fire and he was trying to put out the flames.
A judge set a $200,000 surety bond for 41-year-old Christopher Holmes Wednesday night.
Holmes is charged with attempted murder after Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies say he poured lighter fluid on his 36-year-old girlfriend.
But Holmes told the judge she caught fire in an incident related to a meth lab and that he was trying to put the fire out.
According to an incident report, a man whose home Holmes and his girlfriend were visiting told a deputy they came by around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. After he went to bed, he told deputies he woke up to an argument between the couple and watched as Holmes lit the woman on fire before they both ran out.
Ashes were still smoldering in the driveway of the home when deputies responded just after 10 a.m., the report states.
Neighbors were left in shock by the news of what deputies say happened.
"When I got out of my house, there was a bunch of cop cars over there," said Joseph Byrd, the owner of the mobile home park. "So I got in the truck and stopped over there before I went on to Summerville. I asked the police what was going on and he said there was a fight."
"It's crazy," said Krissy, who lives nearby. "It's overwhelming to hear that."
"I got a call from one of the girls at the office and they said they saw a young lady running out into the middle of the road trying to stop traffic," another neighbor who didn't want to be identified said.
Deputies said the woman was taken to Trident Hospital by a bystander, and later flown to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia for extensive burns on her body. She is expected to survive.
One man said he's seen Holmes around before, but never saw any sort of dispute between the couple of this magnitude.
"He's a very high-strung individual, and to hear that, it blows my mind, to be honest with you," he said. "That's pretty cruel."
"He has got a bad attitude," said Agueda, owner of a nearby mobile home park. "I was scared of him, that's why I had to file an eviction."
Agueda said Holmes was evicted from a trailer off Corey Drive roughly three-months ago. She said she had to call authorities multiple times for various complaints from neighbors.
"He used to always [walk around] with his gun," she said.
"He's just aggressive," said another man.
According to the State Law Enforcement Division, Holmes has a variety of different misdemeanors on his record dating back to 1995, including assault and battery.
SLED records also show Holmes was arrested last week by Summerville Police for possession of cocaine. In January he was arrested for assault and battery in the 3rd degree.
A Berkeley County Sheriff's Office spokesman said additional charges are possible in this incident. The man is scheduled to appear in court at 6:30 p.m.
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