PALESTINE, Texas — An Anderson County grand jury has returned multiple first-degree felony indictments in connection with a robbery last month where a man bound the store clerk and a customer and lit one of them on fire.
The grand jury indicted 40-year-old Robert Lawrence Thompson on two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of arson, each first-degree felonies with punishment ranges from five years to 99 years or life in prison.
"Pursuant to the facts, Aggravated Robbery and Arson are the most appropriate charges and carry the heaviest penalty under the law, unlike Attempted Murder which would be a 2nd degree felony," stated Anderson county District Attorney Allyson Mitchell.
Second-degree felonies only carry a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison, stated Mitchell.
On February 21, 2019, Thompson is alleged to have entered the Pitt Stop at 1221 Link Street in Palestine and demanded cash from the register.
"He demanded the two females, a clerk and a customer, sit on the floor then bounded them with duct tape. He then doused both women with lighter fluid and set one of them on fire," stated the Palestine Police Department.
The cashier avoided any burn injuries. The customer, however, sustained burn injuries to her head, face, and neck. She was initially transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center and later transferred to the burn center at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas.
Later that day, police located Thompson at another convenience store in Palestine and took him into custody without further incident.
Thompson is being held on bonds totaling $4 million.