Robert Rome Green, 48, was sentenced to 70 years in prison after he was found guilty of attempted murder and arson, according to a news release from the 11th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s office. It was the first jury trial of the year in the 11th Judicial Circuit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard called the case “an incredibly tragic and horrific crime of domestic violence.”
“This sentence sends a powerful message that crimes of brutality against women will not and cannot be tolerated in our community,” Hubbard said in a news release. “No human being should ever experience violence of this nature.”
In the middle of the night on August 20, 2019, the victim was sleeping in her home on Lexington Avenue in Cayce, South Carolina when Green suddenly entered her bedroom, according to evidence at trial. Green, an ex-boyfriend of the victim, was armed with a gas can and a lighter.
“The victim testified that she awoke to Green pouring gasoline on her skin and clothing,” the solicitor’s office said in a news release.
She tried to get away from Green, but he “overpowered her,” according to the solicitor’s office.
While holding the victim down, Green “held the lighter to her face and ignited it.”
While on fire, the victim was able to escape the home and run to a neighbor’s for help.
“A neighborhood security camera captured the victim’s screams and the frantic sound of knocking on a neighbor’s door,” the news release said.
Around 3:30 a.m., a neighbor called 911.
A neighbor said she saw Green standing in the front yard of the burning home yelling “take me to jail.” Green was caught on a neighbor’s surveillance video walking away from the scene.
By the time Cayce police arrived, the victim’s entire house was up in flames. The victim had 2nd to 3rd degree burns covering more than half of her body including her face and scalp.
She was hospitalized for more than four months and sustained permanent burn injuries.
“We continue to be inspired by the strength and courage of the victim. She has persevered through unimaginable circumstances,” 11th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes said. “First, she fought for her life and won. Now, she has traveled a long and painful path to achieve justice and prevailed.”
Before Green was sentenced, the victim gave a chilling testimony.
“….no creature on this planet should go through or suffer in the manner that I, my family, and friends have,” she told the court.
Judge Debra R. McCaslin sentenced Green to 30 years for attempted murder and 40 years for arson.
Domestic Violence in South Carolina
For more than two decades, South Carolina has ranked among the worst states in the nation for domestic violence. In 2011, SC had the highest rate of women murdered by men in the U.S.
In 2019, 52 people died in domestic violence incidents in South Carolina, according to the latest report from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
As domestic violence remains a prevalent issue in South Carolina, victims’ resource advocates are concerned as funds from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) are decreasing, WBTW reported.
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has been advocating for bills that would fix the VOCA funding cuts. S.B. 611 was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott in March. H.R. 1652 passed the U.S. House on March 18 with Rep. Jim Clyburn, Rep. Tom Rice, Rep. William Timmons and Rep. Nancy Mace voting yes.
If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic violence, contact Sistercare Crisis Line at (803) 765-9428 or Hopeful Horizons 843-770-1070.
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