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'He tried to kill me:' Details released in woman's burning death

Woman named killer before she died, police say

Bernard Thomas and Tracy Adams
Bernard Thomas and Tracy Adams

DeLAND, Fla. – A woman who was shot, doused with gasoline and set on fire in 2017 repeatedly named her killer before her death, according to the DeLand Police Department.

Records show Bernard Thomas, 51, was arrested Friday in connection with the death 39-year-old Tracy Adams.

Thomas' arrest affidavit provides previously unknown details about the death, including the fact that the mother of five was shot.

Police said they believe Adams was sitting behind the wheel of her car when Thomas, who was standing outside her driver's side window, shot her in the left shoulder, poured gasoline on her and lit her on fire on Aug. 27, 2017.

A Gatorade bottle that smelled of gasoline was found at the crime scene, records show.

As the fire spread, Adams got out of the car and ran into her home, screaming for her daughter to call 911, according to the affidavit.

The victim's daughter said Adams' dress was torn and she was heavily burned on her upper torso, upper extremities face and head. She was screaming, "He tried to kill me," the report said.

Adams' daughter asked who she was talking about and Adams said Thomas attacked her, according to authorities.

First responders noted that Adams said, "Bernard threw gas on me and lit me on fire" and "Bernard threw gas on me." 

Two days after Adams was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, doctors said they realized she had a gunshot wound that they didn't notice before because of the severity of her burns. Police said the bullet struck a bone and fragmented in her shoulder area.

Records show that on Sept. 9, 2017, Adams died as a result of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. The bullet was removed from her shoulder area after her death.

Adams' daughter said Thomas lived in a gazebo near her family's home on West Volusia Avenue and Adams had repeatedly asked him to leave, according to the affidavit.

Thomas was known to be jealous, constantly question Adams' whereabouts and once confronted her about not wanting to be in a relationship with him, authorities said. She also said Thomas was known to carry a revolver in his van, according to the report.

Police said Thomas didn't show up to work in the days after the fire. Records show he called Thomas 31 times in the week leading up to the crime, but stopped calling her after she was set on fire.

Thomas was located at the Brevard County Jail Friday on unrelated charges.

He's facing charges of first-degree murder and arson in connection with Adams' death.


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