Durant amateur MMA fighter arrested for allegedly beating, setting woman on fire

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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) -- A Durant man was arrested for beating a woman and setting her on fire on Wednesday. Neighbors said the suspect, Nehemiah Hellems, is an amateur MMA fighter. Several websites have him listed as a fighter.

This home off Northeast fourth and Elm in Durant is calm, but a few days ago, a horrific domestic abuse incident happened inside.

"There was blood everywhere," described one neighbor.

These neighbors said Hellems beat a woman unconscious, then when she awoke, he beat her several more times. They said he was upset over drugs.

"She had been beaten beyond recognition," said another neighbor. "Her face had been singed, her face had been burned, her hair all singed, her arm is broke. And come to find out he had poured acetone on her and set her on fire."

Neighbors said the 50 year-old woman then pretended to be dead so Hellems would leave.

"He probably thought she was dead," said a neighbor. "That's probably what saved her life. Otherwise, she wouldn't have run out that door."

These two neighbors spotted her on the street.

"And she started walking like this and she kind of stumbled right here and went down and I noticed she went down and I asked her are you okay again and she kept saying water, water," recalled a neighbor.

They rushed in to pick her up.

"And we set her down right here and she could go no further," the neighbor said.

"And she talked but she kept saying 'he's going to kill me, he's going to kill me,'" said another neighbor. "And I told her it was alright and she said 'well you can't protect me' and I said well I'll try."

Hellems has a violent criminal history with dozens of run-ins with the law and even did nearly 5 years in prison for assault.

"This is a repeated offender, this will not be the first time to the penitentiary," said a neighbor. "And I hope that they give him enough this time because when somebody is acting like that in your neighborhood, we're all victims."

Police said the woman was taken to a local hospital and is still recovering from her injuries. There was also injuries to a dog at that home and police say animal cruelty charges may be filed.

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