Family Members of Woman Set on Fire Speaks About Domestic Violence
Birmingham, Ala._The family of an Alabama woman who police say was set on fire by her ex-boyfriend is speaking out on domestic violence.
Although Deborah Prater's family is still devastated by her death, they are using the strength they have left to warn others.
Cherry Woodson says the image of her mother engulfed in flames is something she will never be able to get out of her head.
"She was standing at this couch and that's when he poured the gasoline on her face and it just ran down her body. He threw a cigarette on her and she just was in flames," Woodson said.
Last month, 49-year-old Deborah Prater was in her home when police say her ex-boyfriend Michael Kennedy lit her on fire.
Woodson was in the next room when she heard her mother calling out to her for help.
"My mama was in flames like a burned house," Woodson said.
A sofa in the living and markings on the floor show exactly where Prater fell to the ground while she was burning alive.
"She didn't cry. She told me to be okay, but I couldn't be okay because my mama burnt," Woodson said.
The mother of five was rushed to the hospital. It seemed she would pull through after sustaining severe burns, but things quickly changed.
"She was pulling through. She was being strong and the doctors came out and said her heart gave out," Woodson said.
Prater's heart gave out four times. Her organs began to fail. Woodson said it was then that the family made the painful decision to let their mother, the matriarch of the family, pass on.
"My mama was a great woman. She never did anything to deserve this," Woodson said.
Police arrested Kennedy and are charging the 48-year-old with murder.
Family members and police tell ABC 3340 the two had a history of domestic.
"The police came here several times for him threatening my mama, saying he was going to pour gas around the house. He was going to run an 18 wheeler through my mom's bedroom," Woodson said.
As the family tries to find closure to their own trauma, they offer these words for others dealing with domestic violence.
"Take care of your mother. Take care of your girls. Don't be abusive. Life is too short. It is," Woodson said.