Robert Thompson

Palestine Police Officers arresting Robert Thompson (center) for the aggravated robbery of the Pit Stop mini-mart, and the aggravated assault of a local woman. 

An Anderson County Jury Monday sentenced Robert Lawrence Thompson, 41, to life in prison for aggravated robbery and arson in the Feb. 21 robbery of a Palestine convenience store, where he lit customer Della Witt-Denizeri, on fire.

Thompson, represented by local attorney Jeff Herrington, pled guilty to all charges, including two for aggravated robbery, and one for arson causing bodily injury.

Thompson drew national attention last year, after he held the clerk, Linda Camire, and Witt-Denizeri at gunpoint, wrapped them in duct tape, and doused them with lighter fluid, before attempting to set them both on fire.

Witt-Denizeri suffered second-degree burns to her head, face, and neck. She was taken to Palestine Regional Medical Center, then transferred to the burn center at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Camire was unharmed.

Palestine Police, armed with eyewitness testimony and video evidence, captured Thompson within hours.  Thompson was arrested outside another convenience store, his gun and duct tape still in his car.

“Mr. Thompson’s actions showed a wanton disregard for human life,” Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell said.  Mitchell, along with Asst. District Attorney Cari Warner, tried the case.  “Setting another human being on fire is truly horrifying. 

“The most disturbing part of his crime is…he stopped and stared at his victims while they screamed and the customer burned.  Life in prison for all three counts is appropriate for the crimes he committed.”

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