Philadelphia

Man Throws Gasoline on Girlfriend as She Smokes, Causing Her to Burn to Death: Police

A suspect in a deadly arson told police he knocked over a cup of gasoline on his girlfriend as she was smoking a cigarette, causing her to burn to death, according to an affidavit.

Kevin Small, 46, of Philadelphia, is charged in the death of his girlfriend, Melissa Bacon-Smith, 46, also of Philadelphia, after she was found dead inside a motel room.

Police and firefighters first responded to a report of a fire at the Lincoln Motel, on Route 1 near Northgate Drive in Bensalem Township shortly before 2:30 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived they found flames and heavy smoke inside the building. Firefighters extinguished a blaze in a first-floor motel room and later found Bacon-Smith's body inside. Investigators say she had suffered severe burns.

A desk clerk at the motel told investigators that before police and firefighters arrived, she entered room 103 after receiving a report of a person on fire. When she opened the door she noticed a person on the bed who was on fire and yelling. She was unable to get inside the room however due to the flames and left to help evacuate the entire motel. The clerk told investigators flames inside the room had spread to the curtain, bed and in front of the television.

Police say motel records indicated room 103 was registered to Small who was later found walking on Southampton and Byberry roads by Bensalem Township Police. Investigators say he had visible burns on his hands and smelled like gasoline. He was taken to Aria Hospital for treatment.

Officials say they interviewed Small as well as his sister and mother. Small's sister told officials her brother had called her around 2:35 a.m. and told her that he got in a fight with his girlfriend Bacon-Smith and set her on fire as a result, according to the affidavit. Small's mother also told police that her son called her around 2:30 a.m. and confessed to throwing gasoline on Bacon-Smith's face, officials said. Small allegedly told his mother that Bacon-Smith, "looked like Freddy Kruger."

Investigators later obtained surveillance video of Small at a nearby Wawa store. According to the affidavit, the video shows Small walking into the store shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He then exits the store with a Wawa coffee cup in his hand, walks to a gas pump and then fills the cup with gasoline, according to investigators. Officials say the video then shows Small reentering the Wawa and getting a second cup and a pack of matches.

Officials also say they obtained more surveillance video of Small entering the Lincoln Motel at 1:36 a.m. with an item in his hand.

During his interview with investigators, Small told police he was "angry" with Bacon-Smith before he left their motel room and went to the Wawa, according to the affidavit. Small said Bacon-Smith "laughed" at him when he returned to their room and he placed the cup of gasoline on top of a television. Small told investigators he then swung his arm and struck the cup, causing gasoline to fly towards Bacon-Smith as she smoked a cigarette, according to the affidavit. Small then allegedly told investigators the gasoline struck Bacon-Smith's face and she caught on fire. 

Small said Bacon-Smith then grabbed his arm and said, "Kevin," according to the affidavit. He then allegedly pulled away from her and left her inside the room as the flames continued to spread.

Small is charged with homicide, arson and other related offenses. He was arraigned late Sunday afternoon. While he was being led away in handcuffs, he told reporters, "I'm sorry," and admitted that he, "lost it," according to NBC10's Lauren Mayk. Mayk also reports that Small told her he "hurt someone he loved" and when asked whether or not he should go to jail, replied by saying, "Oh yeah, definitely."

Lauren Mayk
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