Juror speaks on Durant man's guilty verdict for beating and burning a woman

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) -- A jury found a Durant man guilty for beating and burning a woman that he thought took his meth.

On Thursday a jury recommended Nehemiah Hellems spend the rest of his life behind bars. They found him guilty for severely beating a woman, even setting her on fire.

"He's had every opportunity to get his life together. So we felt it was our duty to get him off the streets as long as we possibly could," said a woman who wished to remain anonymous, one the jurors.

She sat on the jury that convicted Hellems. She didn't want her face shown or name used because she's still afraid for her safety.

He's a former MMA fighter, out of prison and on parole for kidnapping, so the victim gave him a place to live.

Then one day, he called her at work, accused her of stealing his meth and threatened to kill her dog. So she came home to see what was going on.

"Because of that he just started essentially for hours beating her," said Durant Police Detective Drew Hale.

And continued for over eight hours.

"Struck her with his hands, he had hit her with a wooden speaker box, a leather belt using the buckle and hit her numerous times with it, with a boot, he had struck her with a boot. He had kicked her," Hale said.

Hale said Hellems choked her until she was unconscious several times.

Then poured nail polish remover on her head setting her on fire.

"There's no reason in the world to ever lay your hands on a woman or anybody for that matter. There's no excuse for that," the juror said.

Police said Hellems fell asleep, that's when she got away.

The victim had a broken arm, brain bleeding, fractured ribs, and over 200 stitches on her head. She spent six days in intensive care and months recovering.

And as for the meth he thought she stole, it was later found in his shoe.

"The blood all over the house, it was horrific. It was like something you see out of a movie," the juror said.

He was twice convicted for beating other women. Three victims testified.

"To see the relief on her face was worth it," the juror said. "We felt that if we did not get him off the streets, the next person could die from him, his hands."

His sentencing date is set for December.