Woman who was set on fire by boyfriend dies, detectives seeking capital murder charges

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says 49 year old Deborah Diane Prater died early Tuesday morning. She's been hospitalized since Sunday with extensive burns. Her ex-boyfriend is accused of setting her on fire and may now face capital murder charges.

On Sunday, deputies found Prater inside her house on the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street with burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs around 2:30 a.m.. The carpet inside the house was also burned.

Investigators turned their attention to her ex-boyfriend, 48 year old Michael Kennedy of Mulga, after learning Prater broke off their three year relationship a month ago. They say when Prater ended it, Kennedy took her Ford Expedition. Deputies say Kennedy left in the same car Sunday after an argument lead to him pouring gasoline on her and setting her on fire.

Kennedy was captured around 4:00 p.m. Monday at a house on the 1000 block of Wilkes Road in Midfield. He was booked in the Jefferson County Jail on a 60 thousand dollar bond. It's now been increased to 250 thousand.

Late Monday night, detectives say Prater's condition got worse and she died just after midnight.

Detectives are trying to upgrade Kennedy's domestic violence and attempted murder charges to capital murder.