Mervin Woodard, 40, was found guilty of multiple felonies in the 2016 crime, which left Melita Curtis in a coma for two weeks. Curtis was burned over 25 percent of her body, but survived the attack. Six months before burning Curtis, Woodard also beat the woman, according to prosecutors.
In the first incident, Woodard beat Curtis, put a knife to her throat and forced her to drive to an ATM to withdraw $600, the DA’s office said. Curtis told police that Woodard threatened to burn her house down with her inside.
Then on June 1, 2016, Curtis came home from work and Woodard was waiting for her, prosecutors said. Curtis tried to run, but Woodard pulled her inside, threw gasoline on her and set her on fire, she told investigators. Woodard put out the fire with a plastic sink sprayer, then drove Curtis to Grady Memorial Hospital and dropped her off. Woodard was later found hiding in the woman’s home and was arrested.
Curtis, a nurse, has been a longtime advocate for domestic violence victims through the Sistah Circle organization.