Minneapolis Woman Set on Fire By Ex-Boyfriend, Terrified He’ll Soon Be Freed From Prison: ‘The Victims Matter’

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

A Minneapolis woman is living in fear that the man who set her on fire more than two years ago will soon be released from prison.

Richard Bullock was charged with setting his then-girlfriend Sharee Smith on fire after assaulting her. Smith says Bullock is preparing to take a plea deal which means he could be out in three and a half years.

The incident happened around 4:20 a.m. on the 5100 block of Colfax Avenue North, in the city’s Lind-Bohanon neighborhood. She reportedly drove herself to the North Memorial Medical Center before an ambulance brought her to a burn unit at Hennepin Healthcare.

“From a one to a 10 it was a 10. It was off the charts,” Smith told Fox 9. Smith told the news outlet that Bullock physically assaulted her before pouring alcohol over her and setting her on fire. She was in hospital in a coma for two weeks. She remained in hospital for two further weeks before being discharged and had to undergo hours of physical therapy.

Her body is covered in burns.

Since then, Smith has been healing from the severe burns that had her in the hospital for a month, in a coma for two weeks and has resulted in endless hours of physical therapy.

Sharee Smith

“It changed in a major way. I’m limited to some things I can’t do. I get out of breath easily. I’m in therapy most of the time,” Smith said.

If Bullock pleads guilty to first and second-degree assault charges, his attempted murder charges will be dropped. Instead, he would be sentenced to 90 months and receive credit for time served.

“I almost died. My life is only worth seven years?” Smith said.

Lucius Luther, a social worker with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in Minneapolis, says plea bargains “diminishes the voice of the victim,” especially women of color.

“I think one of the greatest challenges that victims face is that their voice is muted in the entire court system,” Luther said. “It is a mind-boggling set of events and people and processes that takes place where, again, the victim can be lost in the process of trying to achieve justice for society rather than justice for an individual.”

“The victims matter,” Smith said. “It’s going to take a long time for me to heal not just physically but mentally.”

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