Man accused of burning Fort Myers woman found not guilty

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

UPDATE: Terry Palmer was found not guilty on August 28, 2019.


A man accused of setting a woman on fire in September 2018 is set to stand trial in court.

According to Fort Myers Police Department, Terry Palmer ran inside the home of Thelma Shelby on Evans Street in Fort Myers and threatened to burn the house down. He eventually poured gas on Thelma and set her on fire.

Terry Palmer. Credit: Lee County Sheriffs Office.

“Life without parole. You hear me?” Shelby said. that’s what I want him to get.”

Shelby told us she is in excruciating pain on a daily basis Sunday — nine months since she was set aflame.

She told us Palmer had confronted her at her home claiming Shelby’s daughter owed him $10 and was going to burn everyone and the house down. Shelby said Palmer poured gasoline on her and set her on fire before she could react. She woke up in Tampa Hospital.

Shelby said the pain isn’t the hardest part about her experience these past nine months: She said it’s feeling ashamed to be in her own skin. Shelby told us she is unable to walk out of her home without people staring and pointing.

Shelby said she wants to move because Palmer knows exactly where she lives.

“Or he could either come back to my house and do it to me again,” Shelby said. “He might try to hurt me again. I’m afraid for my life.”


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