Family says burned woman is staying strong - FOX Carolina 21

Family says burned woman is staying strong

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Harold Watts (Greenville Co. Sheriff's Office) Harold Watts (Greenville Co. Sheriff's Office)
GREENVILLE, SC (AP) -

A Greenville County woman, burned on more than 80 percent of her body, won't be awake for the holidays.

51-year-old Harold Watts is in jail, charged with burglary and attempted murder. He's accused of setting his ex-girlfriend Mary Darnell on fire.

Darnell's sister Gina Holmes told Fox Carolina she remains in a medically induced coma, as surgeons at Atlanta's Grady Hospital work to repair her skin, covered in second and third-degree burns.

It was Saturday morning when Holmes said she heard that her older sister was set on fire.

Greenville County deputies said Darnell's neighbor called 911 around 3 a.m. He told deputies he found her screaming, covered in flames, and running through the backyard.  

Soon after, Watts called deputies and investigators said he admitted to the crime.

Family friend Tammy Knight said that in the past few months, Darnell told her Watts was stalking her, harassing her at work, and sitting in her driveway for hours.

A criminal background check on Watts showed multiple offenses, including a sex crime that put him on the sex offender registry and behind bars for 25 years.  He was released from prison in 2009.

"He won't win, he won't get what he wanted. Whatever he wanted, I don't know," said Holmes. "I just can't even fathom what he was thinking, I just can't even imagine that it was something that he could've been capable of.

"It's my sincere thought that he couldn't handle being out in society and he found a way to go back to prison," said Knight.

Watts remains in jail. He was not given a bond.

Mary Darnell will have her second skin graph surgery Thursday. Friends have set up a fund to help pay for medical bills at the Greenville Heritage Federal Credit Union in Simpsonville.

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