Byhalia landlord allegedly sets tenants on fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Byhalia landlord allegedly sets tenants on fire

Police say Dozier may have been drinking. (Photo Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Office) Police say Dozier may have been drinking. (Photo Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Office)
Tommy Bonds (Source: Facebook) Tommy Bonds (Source: Facebook)
Benita Bonds (Source: Facebook) Benita Bonds (Source: Facebook)

A Mid-South woman is recovering from severe burns after deputies say her landlord set her and her husband on fire. But, there's a twist to the story.

Korey Booth, who is also a tenant, says the landlord is best friends with one of the victims. And when deputies arrived, the story about what actually happened changed twice.

“Really don't have any motive, really don't know why at this point,” said Major Kelly McMillen, Marshall County Sheriff's Department.

Kurt Dozier is behind bars, charged with two counts of attempted murder following an incident Saturday night.

Deputies were called to a home off of Dockery Drive after a woman asked for emergency assistance because she was burned by a candle. When the deputy arrived, Tommy Bonds said he had been working on his wife's car all day. When he got inside the house and lit a cigarette, he told the deputy that his hair caught fire. His wife, Benita Bonds, tried to help put it out and was burned too. But according to the report written by the deputy, their injuries were not consistent with their stories.

“Kurt and Tommy, they've been best friends for the better part of 50 years and it kind of astounds somebody to have your best friend do something like that to you,” Booth said.

Booth rents a trailer on Kozier's property and stepped up to tell deputies what happened. He said Dozier had been drinking, got angry, and cut off power to his trailer.

“An hour later, I heard screaming inside the house and I came outside to see the back of the house on fire and I run into the house, kicked the door in and that's when I see Benita just covered in fire,” he said.

According to Tommy Bonds, who eventually told deputies the whole story, Dozier allegedly broke into the home while Bonds was sleeping.

He came back to their bedroom, threw an accelerant on them, and used a Zippo lighter to light them on fire.

Tommy's son, Brandon, also told deputies the same story.

“Tommy was actually set on fire first from the accelerant and the fumes in the room and his wife comes off the bed and tried to put him out and it really engulfed her in flames,” said Major McMillen.

Tommy suffered minor burns, but was treated and released. His wife, Benita, was taken to Memphis by an ambulance because the helicopter was grounded due to weather. She is being treated at Regional Medical Center for burns on at least 20 percent of her body.

Dozier reportedly told Bonds, "My life is over, I didn't mean it. I might as well kill myself.”

Deputies arrested Dozier on Sunday after they found him hiding in a closet in his home. His charges were upgraded on Monday to two counts of attempted murder.

“I'm sorry it ever got to that point,” said Booth.

Benita Bonds continues to recover at the hospital. Her husband says she has a long road ahead but will continue to fight.

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