Man faces murder charge after lighting woman on fire

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 27, 2011 3:33 PM
Man faces murder charge after lighting woman on fire

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A New Hampshire man who allegedly killed the woman he lived with by lighting her on fire before setting himself ablaze was arrested on Tuesday ahead of his release from a Boston hospital.

Barry Winters will be charged with first degree murder after dousing 57-year-old Evelyn Spodnik, a reading teacher from the small town of Wentworth, with gasoline and lighting her on fire June 29, the New Hampshire attorney general's office said in a statement.

Spodnik, who fled to a neighbor's house to seek help, died of her wounds July 1, Jane Young, a state prosecutor, said in an interview.

"(Winters) was not arrested previously because of his health," said Young.

"Police have been able to monitor his condition," she said.

Winters was scheduled to appear in court in Boston on Tuesday and could return to New Hampshire shortly to face charges. If convicted, Winters will likely not face the death penalty as the crime does not appear to fit into one of the categories covered by New Hampshire's death penalty law, Young said.

(Reporting by Jason McLure; Editing by Lauren Keiper and Jerry Norton)