Pennsylvania man accused of beating, burning woman

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 08, 2014 6:51 PM

By Jeffrey B. Roth

(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man allegedly beat a woman for days with his fists and a belt before pouring lighter fluid on her and setting her on fire, police said on Monday.

The 43-year-old woman, whose name has not been released by police, told them on Friday she had been repeatedly assaulted by Donald Dale Hackman Jr., 46, of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Police said Hackman was arrested after the woman sought treatment at a hospital emergency room. The woman said she and her 7-year-old son were living with Hackman over the past month.

The Lancaster County District Attorney's office said Hackman does not have an attorney of record yet. Hackman, who remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bail, could not be reached.

“During the past several days, Hackman had repeatedly struck her in the face and stomach with a closed fist and beat her several times with a belt,” said Lititz Police Detective Sergeant John Schofield, in a press release.

During one of the attacks, Hackman “poured lighter fuel onto her genital area and lit her on fire,” the release said. The woman said "Hackman then extinguished the flames, and yelled at her for screaming and crying.”

The woman suffered second and third degree-burns to her lower stomach, genital area and inner thighs, according to police, who were alerted about the suspected assault by medical personnel at the emergency room of Heart of Lancaster Hospital in Lancaster.

When the woman's son “acted out” in reaction to the alleged assault, Hackman locked the boy in a closet for about 20 minutes, police said. A family member is now caring for the boy.

Hackman, who was arrested at his apartment without incident, has been charged with arson, aggravated and simple assault and false imprisonment. He is being held in the Lancaster County Prison and a preliminary hearing is set for September 23.

Police said the woman, who was transferred to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Care Unit, is expected to recover from her injuries.

(Reporting By Jeffrey B. Roth in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Editing by Diane Craft)