Robbery suspect accused of setting customer on fire indicted by grand jury

Published: Mar. 13, 2019 at 5:43 PM CDT
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PALESTINE, TX - A suspect who is accused of duct taping a store clerk and setting a customer on fire during a robbery has now been indicted.

Robert Lawrence Thompson, 40, was indicted Wednesday by an Anderson County grand jury, according to a district attorney’s office statement.

DA Allyson Mitchell said Thompson was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of arson. Each are first degree felonies with a punishment range of five years to 99 years or life in prison.

Robert Thompson was arrested at 5 p.m. at JJ's Fast Stop on Thursday night. (Source: Palestine...
Robert Thompson was arrested at 5 p.m. at JJ's Fast Stop on Thursday night. (Source: Palestine Police Department)

“Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell stated that, pursuant to the facts, Aggravated Robbery and Arson are the most appropriate charges and carry the heaviest penalty under the law, unlike Attempted Murder which would be a 2nd degree felony, two to 20 years TDCJ,” the statement reads.

Thompson was arrested Feb. 21 following a robbery at the Pit Stop on North Link Street.

Surveillance video shows a man, later identified as Thompson, entering the store and asking the store clerk for something from behind the counter. He later displays a handgun and forces the clerk into a corner before binding her with duct tape. The video also shows a customer being forced into the building, tied up and doused with lighter fluid.

The customer, identified by police as Della Witt-Denizeri, caught on fire but was able to unbind herself and remove the burning clothes.

Denizeri was transported to a local hospital for treatment, and was then taken to a Dallas hospital for treatment.

Thompson was later found Thursday afternoon at a different gas station in the city.

Thompson remains in the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $4,000,00.

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