Bootheel man held on charges of setting brother on fire

Richard Simmons (Source: Pemiscot Co. Sheriff's Office)
Richard Simmons (Source: Pemiscot Co. Sheriff's Office)

By Heartland News

STEELE, MO (KFVS) - Police in the Pemiscot County town of Steele have arrested a man accused of setting his brother on fire.

In a news release, police chief Billy Joe Stanfield says Richard Simmons, 49, was arrested over the weekend on charges of first-degree assault and arson.  Simmons, who lives in Steele, was being held on $25,000 cash-only bond.

A probable cause statement by Steele Police Sgt. Michael George says Simmons threw a gas can, containing gasoline, at or near the victim late Saturday night.  The gasoline landed on the victim while he was welding and a spark ignited the gasoline, which subsequently burned the victim's entire body.

The victim was flown to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, where he was listed in critical condition.

According to the probable cause statement, Simmons told Sgt. George he committed the crime because his brother had said "rude things" to him.

"The victim said he didn't know what happened, that he was sitting there welding, and all of a sudden he got caught on fire, and he said that he thought his brother had poured gasoline on him," said George.

"The individual that was at the scene, during further investigation led to his possible involvement in the crime and he was arrested," said Stanfield.

That individual was Richard Simmons.

Stanfield said Steele hasn't seen violence like this before.

"Nothing of, nothing of my memory no," said Stanfield.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.