North Little Rock woman burned alive

Matthew Nichols

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A woman was burned alive Monday night, and police say her boyfriend was the one who set her on fire. Several people witnessed the violent act, and one woman says she is horrified by what she saw.The victim, Jessie McFadden was just 38-years-old. Her daughter says McFadden and her boyfriend, Matthew Nichols, didn't have a history of violence in their relationship.Neighbor Cynthia Trice noticed something was odd about her neighbor Monday evening when she saw Nichols walking down their street talking to himself."He was outside walking, just walking up and down the street saying he had to do what he had to do," said Trice.Trice tried to ignore the strange behavior. Every time she had seen Nichols and McFadden before, they seemed happy.{}"Normally when I see them, they're always together. He was not himself," recalled Trice.Trice watched as Nichols walked to his truck, where she says he grabbed a gas can."Next thing I know, I smelled something on fire," she said.According to police, Nichols walked into the home and lit McFadden on fire. Neighbors called 911 to report a house fire, until they saw McFadden in the yard. Witnesses say Nichols then doused McFadden, who was already on fire, with more gas."One of the neighbors down there in that white house down there, her husband told (McFadden) to roll, just kept rolling until all the fire was gone," said Trice."We found a victim lying in the driveway. She had been severely burned, approximately 90 percent of her body," explained Sgt. Brian Dedrick of the North Little Rock Police Department.{}The odd behavior of Nichols continued as he asked police for permission to sit in a squad car."We actually released him, and then a witness came forward and said the guy walking down the road was responsible," said Dedrick.Nichols was handcuffed, McFadden was taken to UAMS, but her burns were too severe to survive."I was praying for her, hoping that she would make it, but by seeing the way her burns was, I knew she wasn't going to make it," said Trice.Nichols has been charged with capital murder.